Once again, there is a bill in Congress that would exempt premium cigars from regulation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Bill Posey, R-Fla., has introduced H.R.564, the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2017, with Kathy Castor, D-Fla., again serving as the primary Democrat co-sponsor on the legislation.

Like other bills of similar name before it, the bill would exempt “premium cigars” from FDA regulation. Premium cigars are defined as cigars that are wrapped in 100 percent leaf tobacco and cannot contain a tip.

In addition, the cigar must be either 100 percent tobacco and be hand-rolled or “made with human hands to lay the wrapper or binder onto one machine that bunches, wraps and caps the individual cigars or has a homogenized tobacco leaf binder and is made in the United States using human hands to lay a 100 percent leaf tobacco wrapper onto one machine that bunches, wraps, and caps each individual cigar.”

It also requires that premium cigars weigh at least six pounds per 1,000 units.

The bill is similar to H.R. 662, which was introduced in the last Congress, and others before it like H.R. 792 and H.R. 1639, which Posey introduced in various sessions of Congress before it.

Its primary purpose is to promote education amongst members of Congress regarding the issue of FDA regulations on premium cigars. The more likely path for exemption by Congress is through a rider on a larger bill, likely an appropriations or funding bill.

“We look forward to working with Congress on behalf of the our retailers, small businesses and the rest of the premium cigar industry to advance this common sense legislation,” said Mark Pursell, ceo of IPCPR, in a statement.

“Since 2011, this legislation has served as a platform to convey the threat such regulations could pose to the premium cigar industry,” said Glynn Loope, executive director for CRA. “Now that threat is reality, and Congress, in concert with the new Administration, need to advance measures that can not only mitigate the damage of the rules in front of us, but to ensure protection from rules yet to come.”

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.