It’s been three weeks since the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced its plans to regulate cigars. Now, the three largest cigar organizations—the Cigar Association of America (CAA), Cigar Rights of America (CRA) and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR)—have issued a joint statement on the regulation, including broadly describing a plan of action moving forward.
The letter, addressed from Craig Williamson, president of CAA, Glynn Loope, executive director of CRA, and Mark Pursell, IPCPR’s ceo, is as follows.
To Members of CAA, IPCPR, and CRA:
It has been a little over two weeks since FDA released the Final Rule regulating cigars and other tobacco products. The 499-page rule is complex and raises as many questions as it answers. As the three industry trade associations have said, issuance of the Final Rule is the beginning of a long process. We are issuing this joint letter to advise members of actions we’re taking on behalf of the entire industry.
We have all been hard at work to understand exactly what the rule requires, and to explain its various provisions to each of you. It is important to remember that, in many respects, the industry can continue doing business as it has — while certain provisions become effective this year, others do not become effective for a year or more. The associations have met, and are committed to working together to address the issues we have, so the industry may prosper and grow. We have experienced and dedicated staff and professionals assisting us as we continue to advise you on the meaning of various provisions, in order that each of you can determine how they apply to you. That process continues, and we will provide regular updates.
We all understand the uncertainty caused by this regulated environment. Successfully addressing the challenges presented, requires careful analysis, and patience. We believe the industry needs to work together, and the associations are exploring issues relating to compliance, including engagement with FDA for clarity and guidance, as well as other legal. legislative, and regulatory options moving forward.
To that end, the members of the Boards of Directors of the three associations have agreed not to take any independent action, either in the courts or at FDA, while joint industry strategies are being developed, and request that other industry members also not take any such action. If you have questions, about this or the status of our efforts, please get in touch with one of the associations. As always, we thank you for your continued support.
For more information about FDA’s regulation of premium cigars, please visit halfwheel.com/fda.