Lawmakers Get Behind Bills to Protect Premium Cigars
H.R. 1639 in the U.S. House of Representatives now has 190 co-sponsors -- closing in on the 218 needed for a majority -- and S. 1461 in the U.S. Senate now has 10 co-sponsors with the recent addition of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), according to an article written by Kyle Whalen, public relations manager for the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR). The article appeared on HuntingtonNews.Net.
Since the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA the authority to regulate the tobacco industry in June 2009, the agency has taken aim at several tobacco products like cigarettes and dissolvable tobacco products. Specifically, the FDA banned flavored cigarettes and is awaiting a ruling on whether or not to ban menthol. In addition, the FDA decided in April 2011 to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, however, the agency has yet to release any regulations.
Though cigars have yet to come under the agency's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee's (TPSAC) microscope, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published notices three times during the past year in the Federal Register indicating that it is considering issuing rules to regulate cigars, according to a petition posted on the IPCPR website.
FDA regulations regarding cigars could include a ban on walk-in humidors, self-serve cigar displays and mail-order/Internet cigar sales; a ban on cigar events with free cigars; a ban on flavored cigars; and restrictions on cigar advertising, the petition adds.
"The premium cigar industry employs over 85,000 Americans alone. In today's economy, our representative form of government should be doing everything possible to protect small businesses and promote job growth, not trying to regulate it out of existence," noted Bill Spann, CEO of IPCPR, in Whalen's article.
The association is hoping the bills come up for discussion during this legislative session, which is expected to close in December.