Why the FDA Has It All Wrong
By now, we’ve all heard the news: the FDA has given us a look at what they’re thinking about doing to the cigar industry, vis-à-vis new regulations. Pending though they may be, it’s only a matter of time and outspokenness before they decide how hard to come down on cigar lovers. At the heart of the issue is how premium cigars are to be defined…they already have been, by various state legislatures; but now it’s time for the Feds to come up with something they feel is more formal. And the definition of what a premium cigar “is,” is really the subject of the debate if we’re to have any reasonable shot at the FDA moving away from regulating premium cigars. Continue reading
Today I introduce to you the short video we at Famous Smoke Shop put together advising all of you who love cigars about the inherent dangers that exist if the FDA gains control over the cigar industry.
The reason we did this is simple: our beloved industry is in REAL danger and this piece outlines pretty clearly what bad things could happen to your cigars – from the manufacturing, the way you are allowed (or not allowed) to buy them, and lastly… even possible extinction.
While the feedback has been astounding to this video presentation, I’ve heard a few clamorings on the internet forums where certain people simply don’t believe what we’ve stated, calling it pure conjecture and hype. And to that, I can say, if you continue to believe that, you have been very sadly misinformed.
LISTEN TO ME… I have personally spent a lot of time with people like Glynn Loope, the Executive Director of the lobbyist group, Cigar Rights of America, as well as owners and top executives of many of the cigar manufacturers. I have learned first-hand about the intentions behind FDA cigar industry regulations and there isn’t a person who works in this business who takes this lightly, whatsoever. And, I can assure you that no one takes this more serious than the people at Famous. Continue reading
Come on and sing it with me, cigar lovers…
The FDA took my stogies away, they took ‘em away, away from me
The FDA took my stogies away, they took ‘em away, away from me…
Ah, the Ramones classic with a new twist. Yeah, those crazy pranksters over at the Food and Drug Administration are causing quite a stir here in the land of premium tobacco goodness. With the threat of FDA cigar legislation hanging over our heads daily, I think it’s important to let you all know what could happen to premium cigars if we don’t protect our rights. Those cut ups are all lathered up about controlling the cigar industry, you know, regulating it the way the government does best. Or should I say OVER REGULATING the living hell out of EVERYTHING they get their mitts on! Continue reading
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to meet him, chances are you’ve noticed it too. Whether he’s talking to customers or retailers – anybody, really – Rocky Patel exudes a genuine passion for premium cigars. And that’s pure Rocky: the hardest-working man in the cigar business; a guy who logs more than 300 days on the road a year, yet still relishes the opportunity to travel the world and putting his cigars in the mouth of his consumers. Continue reading
Have you seen any of the news this past week? The calendar is kind of weird right now – since 4th of July fell on a Wednesday I’m sure that many people made it a 5-day weekend (and more power to you). In case you missed it, there was another jobs report, and much yelling and screaming ensued; everyone yelled at each other about whether “the Mandate” was a tax or a penalty. Gov. Romney was riding a jet ski, and the President was riding a bus. It’s been a little (too) quiet, though, about where the effort stands to exempt premium, hand-rolled cigars from FDA regulation. So as we wrap up another week full of political news/noise, I thought it was a good time to drop in a few recent updates on the standing of the legislation pending in Congress, HR1639/S1461 – The Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act. Continue reading
Make no mistake: the Department of Health, through the FDA, is crusading to erase tobacco, including cigars. Don’t believe me? According to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius:
Until we end tobacco use, more people will become addicted…Now is the time to fully implement proven and effective interventions… to help end this public health epidemic once and for all.
Only 3 years ago, Deputy Secretary Bill Corr worked as an anti-smoking lobbyist. Are THESE the people you want in charge of cigars at the federal level?
FDA regulation of cigars will begin with a ban on mail-order sales, but even your local smoke shop isn’t safe. Take a good last look at your local walk-in humidor, because under the new FDA regulations, displaying cigars will be illegal. Instead they’ll be kept in a stock room, under lock and key. You can forget browsing for cigars – you’ll have to ask for them by name.
But hey, at least it’ll be easy to keep track of new brands: FDA regulations will force manufacturers to spend upwards of six-figures just to get new a blend approved. Your favorite boutique cigar brands will wither and die, leaving only the largest manufacturers to introduce a new blend or two per year.
Don’t expect to sample those new blends, either: free samples will be illegal, as well as cigar events. Even if you’re brave enough to buy a box sight unseen, the FDA is likely to mandate near-zero levels of nicotine. How do you suppose THAT cigar will taste?
To add insult to injury, if passed, YOU will be paying for all this new regulation in the form of income and new cigar taxes. Surely the Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves!
When a government acts against its citizens’ interests, it’s time to make your voice heard. Urge your Senator and Representative to support the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act today.
Click the button below, even if you’ve already done so. Your voice counts, and it ONLY TAKES A MINUTE!
AS AN AVID CIGAR SMOKER you’ve probably heard a lot about FDA regulation of premium cigars. The fact is that earlier this year, the Federal Drug Administration was given the authority to regulate tobacco products. According to a recent report from Cigar Rights of America (CRA):
In the July 7 Federal Register, FDA restated its authority to issue regulations deeming ‘other tobacco products’ to be subject to their domain [when the legislative intent was cigarettes and smokeless products]. They further stated ‘The scope of the proposed rule deeming cigars to be subject to FDA’s jurisdiction that was previously included in the Unified Agenda is being broadened to encompass products that meet the statutory definition of tobacco product.
Therefore, unless action is taken quickly, the FDA plans to start their new timetable for such regulations this coming October.
Fortunately, House Bill H.R.1639, the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act, was introduced. This bill seeks to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction over certain tobacco products, and to protect jobs and small businesses involved in the sale, manufacturing and distribution of traditional and premium cigars. At last count H.R.1639 had at least 45 co-sponsors in The House. Recently, added support of the bill is due to the fight not only from CRA and The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR),
but from concerned citizens like you who have taken the time to write your representatives in Washington.
Thankfully, another major hurdle was cleared when co-sponsors Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) of Florida. introduced S1461, the companion bill to HR1639. S1461, like HR1639, seeks to separate cigars from cigarettes and other tobacco products in order to keep them safe from FDA regulation. Like The House version of this bill, it is called the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011.”
Should the FDA regulation include premium cigars under their umbrella here’s what will happen:
- You’ll pay extremely higher prices for premium cigars.
- Flavored cigars will disappear.
- New blends would be subject to inspection, testing, and approval by the FDA, virtually tying the hands of manufacturers.
- Cigar box artwork will be disfigured by health risk warning labels.
- Marketing of premium cigars and in-store tasting events would be muzzled, nor would cigar stores be permitted to have walk-in humidors, and finally…
- NO MORE MAIL-ORDER CIGARS
And that’s just for starters.
Please contact your U.S. Senators today! The last thing you want is the FDA having a say in how your favorite premium cigars are blended, imported and sold. In the meantime, we will continue to keep you updated on any further developments about these bills that come our way.
Cigar retailers including Famous Smoke Shop desperately need House and Senate support for and co-sponsorship of HR1639 and S1461 respectively, and we need you to urge them! It’s the best thing you can do today to help save your cigars from being regulated by the FDA; and believe me, as if government wasn’t big enough already, the last thing you want is the FDA having a say in how your favorite premium cigars are imported and marketed.
Right now is the perfect opportunity to tell your Senators about how FDA control of cigars will affect you as a consumer. To do so, simply follow these steps.
- Go to IPCPR’s Legislative Action Center
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and on the right side of your screen, you will see a text box for entering your zip code. Enter it and click “Go.”
- On the next screen, you will see your two U.S. Senators and under them you will see a pre-fab letter you can use or edit to add your own wording.
- Finally, preview your message, and if it’s satisfactory, click the “Send Message” button.
Luckily, Congress is listening to us. We have a great opportunity to nail this one down, so don’t delay, and pass this blog on to your cigar smoking amigos.
Anti-smoking legislature is fraught with problems, not the least of which is the erosion of personal liberty. I can understand anti-smoking laws in schools and hospitals, and even government buildings. But if you thought that banning smoking in privately-owned restaurants and clubs was an overstep of authority, wait until you get a load of this.
The “City that Never Sleeps” is currently considering legislation that would expand anti-smoking laws to include to the city’s parks, beaches, and other public outdoor locations, including Times Square. The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) and New York Tobacconist Association have formed a partnership to oppose the measure. Continue reading