Cigar Advisor Weighs in on the Newest FDA Cigar Regulations


Cigar Advisor, the nation’s premiere online cigar magazine, proudly serves cigar enthusiasts with a uniquely down-to-earth perspective on the enjoyment of premium cigars. The magazine has just published a review of the newly-deemed FDA rule that extends the agency’s intent to regulate more tobacco products — including premium cigars — under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA). Titled “FDA Cigar Regulation: Effects of the 2016 Deeming Rule,” Managing Editor John Pullo addresses the impact this new authority granted to the FDA will have on the premium cigar market, and the market uncertainties it has created.

“There are a number of ‘untolds’ in the document. These are the numbers, processes, costs and more that the Agency hasn’t defined yet… perhaps, because it can’t. That’s why we wanted to address these regulations — they’re important for cigar enthusiasts to understand,” says Cigar Advisor Managing Editor John Pullo. “They have the very real potential to negatively impact the consumer — and in more ways than just the choice of premium cigars available for sale.” He’s compiled an analysis of the stricter FDA regulations that affect the production, marketing and sales of tobacco products that were announced this month, titledFDA Cigar Regulation: Effects of the 2016 Deeming Rule. Released as a 499-page document on May 5, John examines four of the most prominent issues created by the FDA decision for stronger regulation.

John notes one particular concern immediately: “The damage that is likely to be done to the manufacture and marketing of premium cigars by this decision is sweepingly broad, but done in a way that’s extremely vague. That is worrisome.” He specifically points to the newly-ordered “substantial equivalence” verification process for premium cigars that entered the market after 2007, and how “there is a lot of gray area here.” Pullo argues that cigar manufactures are placed in an immediate disadvantage by the agency, as the inner workings of the tests that FDA plans to run on the products at hand are “unclear, have no benchmarks established, and the costs — and how they’re figured — are seemingly guesses, at best.” He also believes that this ruling places the legalization of Cuban cigars in America in limbo.

The Cigar Advisor analysis discusses the banning of cigar sampling, age verification for the purchase of cigars, and the steps that retailers have already taken to be in compliance with existing age restrictions for the purchase of tobacco products by those under the age of 18. “These laws already exist,” he says.

FDA Defies Congressional Intent…Subjects Premium Cigars To Federal Regulation

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products released their 499 page final rule that would deem additional tobacco products subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (“Tobacco Control Act”).  Under today’s release, premium cigars have been deemed and will be subjected to the “option 1” regulatory framework, which in some respects treats premium cigars in harsher terms than that of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Since the original filing of the proposed rule on April 25, 2014, and the closing of the comment period on August 08, 2014, Cigar Rights of America (CRA) and hundreds of thousands of cigar aficionados across Ameria have been actively advocating on multiple fronts within the Obama Administration that premium cigars should not be included in any form of a final rule.  Unfortunately, the FDA and the Obama Administration have rejected and cast aside any rationally objective approach to developing this regulation.
When Congress gave FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products in 2009, they did so specifically with the stipulation that in order to subject a product to regulation FDA must demonstrate that the specific product(s) possess issues of underage consumption and health and mortality impact through addiction, both which have never been associated with premium cigars. Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee stated during the debate on the Fiscal Year 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill that, “premium cigars were never intended to be in the original Tobacco Control Act.”
Congressional intent can also be seen through lens of legislation, where beginning in the 112th Congress through today, 289 different members of the House of Representatives and 26 members of the Senate have co-sponsored legislation that would exempt premium cigars from FDA regulation.
J. Glynn Loope, Executive Director of CRA, stated in reaction to today’s release that, “the inclusion of premium cigars in the final rule by FDA is yet another clear indicator that the agency never intended on complying with the Congressional mandate in the 2009 Act, and that the agency is clearly overstepping its authority in its zealous pursuit of unjustified regulations.”
Loope went on to further say, “Due to today’s actions by FDA, Cigar Rights of America will continue concentrating its efforts on the pursuit of the legislative exemption adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, and CRA is calling on Congress to act this year to protect the premium cigar retail community, the availability of legal products to America’s adult consumers, and to address the political and economic threat that this regulation passes throughout Latin America.”

Initiative underway to legalize marijuana in Florida, petition signatures have begun

Yesterday, August 26, 2015, Regulate Florida received the go-ahead to begin collecting signatures for a landmark petition to change in how Florida deals with marijuana (cannabis). The proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution will regulate the commerce of cannabis with age restrictions and guidelines for licensing as well as the rights for adults over 21 to possess and cultivate the plant at home.

If passed by over 60 percent of Floridians, the initiative will have the effect of dramatically reducing the taxpayer expense of housing Floridians in state prisons while generating a large amount of tax revenue for the state. According to the nation’s most authoritative survey, a majority of Americans now favor the legalization of marijuana. The measure comes at a time when Americans and Floridians are more willing to acknowledge the reality that the War on Drugs has been an abject failure and marijuana is mostly seen as less harmful than other products legally or illegally. The Regulate Florida’s aim is to have a marijuana industry flourish in the state, generating revenue and reducing crime.

The initiative was crafted by 2014 Florida Attorney General candidate Bill Wohslifer, Esq. and Michael Minardi, Esq. Through their teamwork, as well as some dedicated volunteers, the Florida government has given its approval for them to begin collecting signatures in an effort to get the measure on the November 2016 ballot.

Wohslifer stated yesterday in an email, “Sensible Florida, Inc. was not the first team to ask me to draft a regulation ballot initiative for the 2016 general election. I declined earlier opportunities because of limitations on my volunteer time. But when Karen Goldstein introduced me to the team she was developing this initiative with, I could not say no. I worked with Karen in the past on the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act. I trust her judgment and insight.”


Uber and Palm Beach County Commission meet in epic showdown tomorrow

In what is expected to be quite the show for spectators and stakeholders, the Palm Beach County Commission will meet tomorrow to discuss the future of Uber and the future of other similar tech companies serving Palm Beach County. County commissioners have been in bed with the traditional taxi and limousine business industry for years and Uber has presented a credible threat to their old, obsolete business model. Rather than embrace the change, in February county commissioners introduced an ordinance to force livery drivers to pass an invasive background check even though the prior system was proven to be reliable. The effect of this and other aspects of the new regulation would be less Uber and Lyft drivers on the road, diminishing service to county residents. Many drivers and potential drivers do not want to be fingerprinted for privacy reasons and the extra cost involved, not because they have anything to hide, as what was suggested by one commissioner.

Uber has not backed down to the commissioner’s new and arduous regulation, promising to stop doing business in the county at the end of their temporary operating agreement which expires at the end of September. Uber called Broward County commissioner’s bluff last month, leaving the county, only for those county commissioners to deal with the wrath of very unhappy residents. Broward County is now reconsidering their heavy regulation in favor of a more free market solution.

Specifically, this past February, Palm Beach County Commissioners passed an ordinance that livery drivers must pass a “level 2” background check which would need to go through the government, even though “level 1” background checks (done through private companies) have proven effective for decades. County commissioners have offered no proof of the necessity for the extra background checks which cost drivers more money and are more intrusive resulting in less Uber and Lyft drivers available to service residents. County commissioners have consistently and often spoken about the need to protect the safety of the public, yet there has been no evidence shown the public is at risk or that the public would be better protected with the additional government regulation. Uber has stated it will not comply with the heavy regulation the county is demanding. The county commission, contrary to their public comments, has proven that it is more interested in protecting and serving the livery industry in Palm Beach County, instead of its constituents.


Kratom under attack in Florida legislature and Palm Beach County – unbalanced business regulation

Today, March 10, 2015, kratom is being discussed by the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners and in the Florida Senate. Elected officials are seeking ways to regulate kratom. Kratom is a tree indigenous to Southeast Asia, for which some will use the leaves to relieve the symptoms of PMS, general pain relief, depression, lowering blood pressure, decrease anxiety, diarrhea relief and increased mental acuity.

There is no reason for talk of kratom’s regulation except for the outspoken voice of a parent who blames kratom on the death of her child’s suicide. Ignoring facts from the medical examiner’s office that kratom did not cause the death of her child, the parent continues her crusade with Palm Beach County Commissioners and in the Florida legislature. Even though there has never been one proven case where kratom was responsible for the death of anyone, elected officials are willing to regulate the tree, throwing reason and science out the window.


Nebraska continues to keep cigar smoking illegal even in cigar bars

The attack on the cigar industry continues in Nebraska as the latest challenge to the state’s indoor smoking ban was defeated on Wednesday, November 14, 2014, by the Nebraska Supreme Court. The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that all public establishments in the state must be covered by the 2008 Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act and found the 2009 exception carved out for cigar bars was unconstitutional. The ruling will cause Nebraska’s 12 cigar bars to abide by the decision of no smoking inside their businesses or face fines for doing so.


When Rhode Island Accidentally Legalized Prostitution, Rape Decreased Sharply

For decades, few people noticed that legislators in I ishad deleted crucial language from Rhode Island state law in 1980. It wasn’t until a 2003 court case that police, to their chagrin, discovered they couldn’t prevent prostitutes and their customers from engaging in commercial exchange.

For the next six years until legislators corrected their error, the oldest profession was not a crime in Rhode Island — and public health and public safety substantially improved as a result, according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The statewide incidence of gonorrhea among women declined by 39 percent, and the number of rapes reported to police in the state declined by 31 percent, according to the paper.

Read the rest of the story here!


Obama admin does something right, some proposed FDA restrictions are dropped

Yesterday, June 24, 2014, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have lowered the health risk rhetoric and proposed rules for e-cigarettes and cigars. The OMB announced it is deleting language from the FDA’s proposed regulations they made in April, however no final rules have been implemented as the FDA will not complete its public comment period until August 8, 2014.

The OMB rule change would still restrict vending machine sales, however leaves open the ability to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, online. Another change would put cigars into two classifications, one for premium cigars and another for all the others. The OMB also deleted the FDA’s claim as to how many lives would be saved by their regulation of the cigar industry. Also deleted was an analysis was how American’s health would improved due to their slapping a warning label on the cigars.

Read the rest of the story here.


Ferry brothers will not be heard by the Supereme Court

Today, June 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a case challenging a nearly century-old, government-imposed ferry monopoly on Lake Chelan in central Washington state. The appeal, filed by the Institute for Justice on behalf of brothers Jim and Cliff Courtney, raised important questions concerning the scope of protection that the U.S. Constitution provides for the economic rights of ordinary Americans. The Court’s refusal to hear the appeal lets stand a terrible 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision wholly dismissive of economic rights.

Read the rest of the story here.

Kite boarding and kite surfing finds its way back in the parasailing bill

Just when kite boarders and kite surfers felt they had little to worry about regarding regulation, yesterday an amendment was added to the para sailing bill in the Florida legislature. Late yesterday, May 1, 2014, the amendment was filed and adopted by the Florida House to restrict kite boarders and para sailors away from seashore airports. Also added to the para sailing bill is an attempt to quiet air boats by forcing them to install mufflers. It is hard to understand what air boats have to do with para sailing, but that’s politics.

Read the rest of the story here.


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