FDA Regulation Could Doom Cigar Shops


The cigar industry is trying to stop the Food and Drug Administration from regulating its products, which it fears would result in onerous restrictions and burdensome fees that would drive many retailers and manufacturers out of business. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 gave the FDA authority over cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and "any other tobacco products that the Secretary [of Health and Human Services] by regulation deems to be subject to this chapter." If the FDA "deems" cigars to be covered by its regulations, an agency spokesperson tells The Daily Caller, they "would be subject to general controls, such as registration, product listing, ingredient listing, good manufacturing practice requirements, user fees for certain products, and the adulteration and misbranding provisions, as well as to the premarket review requirements for 'new tobacco products' and 'modified risk tobacco products.'" The Daily Caller outlines some of the practical consequences:

New taxes—or "user fees," in FDA lingo—would reach every corner of the cigar world, [International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers CEO Bill] Spann said, from giant online retailers to small-batch importers and neighborhood shops.

Beyond that, Spann warned, customers wouldn't be permitted to touch or smell cigars. There would be no walk-in humidors and no cigars flavored with cognac or bourbon. The FDA could stop the sale of new cigar blends until manufacturers submit them to the government for testing and analysis.

And cigar boxes—and perhaps even individual cellophane wrappers—could be subject to the same graphic warning labels scheduled to be required on cigarette packs in September 2012….

Shami Walia, an Indian-American who opened Burke Cigar in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. four years ago, doesn't hold out hope that shops like his would survive that level of government control.

"A lot of shops—all small businesses—would just not be able to handle it," Walia told TheDC. "They'll probably shut down…You won't be able to keep your doors open."

The FDA also could ban online sales of cigars in the name of preventing minors from buying them—about as plausible a scenario as teenagers getting drunk on boutique Cabernet they order from an out-of-state winery.

To avoid all this heavyhanded interference, the industry is backing legislation (H.R. 1639 and S.B. 1461) that would prevent the FDA from regulating "traditional large and premium cigars," defined as "tobacco that is wrapped in leaf tobacco, contains no filter, and weighs at least 6 pounds per 1,000 count." Backers of the bill, dubbed the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011, argue that the main rationale for the tobacco control law was preventing underage smoking, and not many teenagers are plunking down $10 for an Ashton Churchill. CDC survey data  indicate that 14 percent of high school students are "current" cigar smokers, meaning they smoked a cigar, cigarillo, or little cigar on at least one day in the month before the survey. The premium cigars covered by H.R. 1639 likely account for a very small portion of those smokes. In any event, selling tobacco products to children is already illegal, and cigar shops like Walia's do not admit unaccompanied minors.

Last week I noted New York City's ban on flavored cigars, which the FDA could end up replicating at the national level. The FDA's new warning labels, which could apply to cigars as well as cigarettes, are on hold as a result of a First Amendment challenge.

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75 responses to “FDA Regulation Could Doom Cigar Shops

  1. Tampa might secede over this.

  2. This is bullshit but no more bullshit than how cigarettes are already being treated.

    1. but cigs are low class, hence deserving of all the regulation necessary to protect people from their own choices for their own good.

    2. Unfortunately, the FDA was already told by congress that they must regulate cigarettes. Cigar smokers are trying to stop them from expanding regulation to include cigars, which Congress left up to the FDA. All cigar smokers would gladly also support any attempt to repeal all authority that the. FDA has to regulate any tobacco.

      More here:…..igars.html

  3. What the hell is wrong with that person’s fingernails?

    1. Never quite figured out how that cash register draw works…

    2. Old nail polish?

      I know this because my fiancee is too lazy to use nail polish remover and instead just lets it flake off like that.

      1. He sounds dreamy!

      2. Those are (hopefully) dude-hands, so if he’s wearing flaking black nail polish, that would make him some kind of emo cigar aficionado? NTTAWWT

        1. NTTAWWT

          Um, yes there is.

          1. i lold

        2. I’m not certain they are male hands actually but even if they aren’t black nail polish on a dude isn’t so strange these days.

    3. Since he’s about to smoke an Obama cigar I wouldn’t hazard a guess.

    4. Looks like he’s really bad at hammering nails.

  4. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but he appreciated a good cigar.

    1. I didn’t appreciate nearly enough at the time what a golden age the Clinton years were. What I would give to have him back over the scum we have running the country now.

      1. no shit…in spades

      2. Seriously. You know things are FUBAR whenever Clinton/Gingrich seems like a good alternative.

    2. If this rule had been in effect then, could he possibly be in trouble for adulterating it and/or not submitting them for testing?

      1. Only if he was trying to market a line of “Monica’s snatch soaked cigars” or something.

        1. big seller in japan….forgone opportunity.

  5. This is how the government creates jobs – by causing businesses to close.

    1. They aren’t the right kind of jobs.

      If they aren’t eco-friendly or unionized, then they have no interest in creating those jobs. Unemployment is better.

  6. Let me be clear. The do-nothing congress is causing high unemployment to continue.

  7. One day, at the FDA, a manager noticed that one of her cubicle workers had nothing to do…

  8. I wish they would stop this shit. Just makes me want to start smoking tobacco again.

  9. A Romeo y Julieta here in Prague costs around eight bucks. I’m not sure if that’s a good deal or a rip-off, but I do indulge occasionally and I’ve certainly smoked worse.

    1. FYI, there are more fake Cuban cigars than fake DOm Perignon on New years…and Moet says that ratio is about 3 to 1.

  10. the highschool kids are freakin their cigars…if that’s what one calls black n milds

    1. English, motherfucker! Do you speak it?

      1. And that’s a Spanish “no”, not an English one.

      2. u wouldnt understand, poet, even if i used out-of-touch language ud be familar with.

  11. I’ve never smoked anything in my entire life, but I used to listen to a local radio show (syndicated nationally now) called “The Cigar Dave Show.” He talked about all sorts of things besides cigars, but cigars were the centerpiece. Bet he’s bitching about this and about his archenemy, the “Pleasure Police.”

    1. I’ve never smoked anything in my entire life…

      What, you think you’re better than me?!

    2. When you turn 75, you should just start smoking everything you can get your hands on.

      1. By then, maybe it’ll be healthy. That’s what they said in Sleeper, anyway.

        1. By 75, you’ll look back on your life of never smoking anything, and think, “My god, I’m this old, and I haven’t lived a day in my life. How fucking lame.” But it will be too late!

          1. If I have any regrets, that’s not going to be one of them.

          2. assuming ProL is 30-40, by the time he’s 75 he might still have another 10 years of decent living. (C’mon medical advancement, Daddy needs a new pair of kidneys!)

            1. Dude, you are missing out. Padron 64 Aniversario Principe maduro. Oliva Serie G Coneticut wrapper (delicate and turns into a feather duster if not careful but ohh so delicious). Partagas Balck label Churchill maduro. Monte Christo White Court. Damn, I could go on but I am now considering driving home to my humidor for some mocha maduro lovin.

              1. Besides, If you don’t smoke stogies then we will be forced to take your top hat and monocle away. It is all required for the full dress libertarian uniform.

                1. p.p.s. My halloween costume was a banker/libertian and the wife was an OWS protestor (but cleaner). I was only missing the monocle…god only knows where to get one.

                  1. Google is your friend, my friend.

                  2. Where to get one? I am ashamed to call myself a libertarian if you are representative.

                    1. How gauche. If it’s not made by exploiting your own underpaid serfs, it’s not worth wearing.

                    2. Colonel Monocle Whiskey Tortoise. From Warby Parker. They do great eyeglasses as well. Awesome prices. I read an interview with the founders/owners and they have a positive entrepreneurial/ free-market outlook.

                  3. Try the steampunk sites. I’ve seen them there.

                    1. eBay. Warby Parker makes actual prescription monocles.

  12. This FDA ruling will also affect all unregulated products such as snus, ecigs,pipe tobacco large cigars and small,lozenges and dissolvables to name a few by falsely claiming these products are marketed towards “youth”. I have yet to see one single person who is for minors having access to any of these products and no adult wants that for kids so why do they keep on using that same old excuse about kids “may be able to purchase tobacco products, over the counter or online? This is just more fabrication but it is their “raison d’etre'”. The Senators claim they must do this to “protect the children.” Isn’t that a parents job? I don’t want nor do I need my government to tell me what is best for my kids thank you very much!
    *The FDA and US Senate Democrats Blumenthal, Lautenberg & Brown urge FDA to “swiftly” expand tobacco regulations, falsely accuse the tobacco industry of undermining FSPTCA, urge agency to apply Chapter IX to all cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah/shisha, dissolvables, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, criticize companies for marketing exponentially less hazardous smokefree alternatives to smokers, grossly misrepresent health risks/benefits and marketing of smokefree products.
    Sens. Merkley, Brown and 10 other Democrats pressure FDA to reverse ruling that Star’s Ariva BDL and Stonewall BDL aren’t smokeless tobacco products (as defined by FSPTCA), grossly exaggerate health/safety risks of dissolvable tobacco (that now includes nicotine lozenges), falsely claim products are marketed to youth, call them candy.
    New Senator Brown and Senate Colleagues to FDA: It’s Time To Close The Door On Tobacco Candy (6/16/11 Dem Sens. letter to Margaret Hamburg)

    We cannot stand for this kind of bullying from our own government!
    We all need to band together whatever your choice of product {mine are large cigars and ecigs!} and tell the FDA to get the hell out of the legal adult tobacco consumers lives!
    *Thanks to Bill Godshall

  13. Everything that is good in this world. The government has to shit on it all.

  14. Banning cigars? Like that’s going to help me now!

    1. shit! Where the hell is my Bill Clinton handle?

  15. Semi off-topic (its about smoking plants, so sort of related), but the valuation in this story is bullshit, right?

    Oh, its about 1.8 miles from my home.

    1. The cops are giving about $4,000/lb ($250/oz) for live plants?

      A friend of mine (ahem) who grew never bothered to weigh the “waste”, but he tells me he would guess that the actual bud was probably 1/5 of the weight of the plant, at best.

      So these lying fucks are saying that the actual sellable product from these plants (assuming all are mature females) is worth over $1250/oz?

      1. Im assuming 80 lbs + 200 live plants. But no clue.

        1. The police always value the seizure as if it going to sold in small amounts instead of large quantities. When a guy gets busted with 8 lbs. He isn’t breaking it all up and selling it 1/8th of a ounce at a time.

          1. Sure, sure. That’s why I did the math in ounces, above. But break it down to eighths.

            Is anyone paying over 0/eighth?

            1. make that $150/eighth

              1. Not unless their stupid.

  16. When “they” come for the monocle and top hat shops, that’s when I’ll get pissed. For cigars, I can just have my plantation foremen switch crops.

  17. 14 percent of high school students are “current” cigar smokers, meaning they smoked a cigar, cigarillo, or little cigar on at least one day in the month before the survey.

    I’m calling bullshit on this one. One in seven high school students? That would be more than one in three male students?

    No . . . fucking . . . way.

    1. I would be willing to believe that 1 in 7 were current blunt smokers, though.

  18. Of the current Repub candidates, which do you think would veto this bill?

    Veto: Paul, Johnson.

    Sign: Romney, Huntsman, Santorum. I’ll say Bachmann, too. For teh chillenz.

    Who the fuck knows: Gingrich, Perry.

  19. Please. If we, the American people, can be tricked by mortgage companies into buying homes we cannot afford, how can we possibly be trusted to choose whether to purchase cigars? We clearly and obviously need to be protected from ourselves through layers of oppressive regulations and taxes — oops, sorry, user fees.

    It’s what Teddy Roosevelt would do…

  20. If only we controlled both houses.

  21. They probably think that it relieves the stress they’re going through

  22. Why must the federal government continually shit upon all that I love?

  23. Cigars are stinky. Ban them!!! In fact, ban everything I don’t like. Sweet land of liberty.

  24. If tobacco starts getting banned, the dope dealers will add it to their product lines and get even richer. And will have no compunctions about selling to kids.

    The Commissioner should think twice, because I doubt that’s the result he wants.

    1. Hey, it’s not the government’s fault if criminals do illegal things. As long as we do The Right Thing for The Right Reasons, we’re saints, no matter what happens after.

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