The FDA could place limits on cigar advertisements and nicotine levels. They could also require that new cigar blends be submitted for testing and approval before being released. This process could cripple the smaller boutique manufacturers and force them out of business.
The FDA may require graphic warning labels for all cigar packaging, similar to what has been mandated for all cigarette packaging by 2012. Lastly, the FDA could impose a tax on cigars to pay for all of these new regulations.
Fortunately for the cigar industry, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have drafted two bills; H.R. 1639 and S. 1461, known as the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act.
I wrote to Senator Bill Nelson regarding S.1461 and this was his response to me:
“Cigar manufacturing has been a major industry in Florida for generations, producing thousands of jobs and over a billion dollars in economic activity. Small businesses, such as local cigar manufacturers, are vital to a sustainable economic recovery. That is why I recently introduced, along with Senator Marco Rubio, the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011 (S.1461). This bipartisan bill would ensure Florida’s premium cigar makers are not unduly burdened by additional Federal regulations.”
I also wrote to Congressman Gus Bilirakis and he said in part:
“H.R. 1639, sponsored by Representative Bill Posey, seeks to amend Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to re-examine the role of the Food and Drug Administration in its oversight of tobacco products, and furthermore protect small businesses involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of cigars. I have signed onto this bill as a cosponsor because I believe in protecting jobs and small businesses from excessive government regulation”
If you are a cigar smoker, you need to write to your government officials. Tell them how you feel about the proposed FDA regulations and ask them to support H.R. 1639 and S. 1461.
Also, if you have not done so already, join the Cigar Rights of America and support our freedoms as cigar smokers.
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To read more of Tom’s columns visit his page at Examiner.com.