There is a new commissioner of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate voted 89-4 in favor of confirming Dr. Robert Califf as its new commissioner.

Yesterday, Califf, the deputy director of FDA’s Office of Medical Products and Tobacco, passed a procedural vote in the Senate, 80-6. He is expected to testify before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Numerous Senators had indicated they would hold up hearings due to various concerns ranging from opioids to genetically modified fish, but the vote yesterday means that there will be no more than 30 hours of debate over Califf’s hearing. halfwheel has learned a vote could take place within the next hour.

Califf is a Duke-educated cardiologist who spent most of his career at Duke before joining FDA last year.

He replaces Dr. Margaret Hamburg who announced her resignation last year after six years at the head of FDA.

Dr. Stephen Ostroff has been in the role of acting commissioner since.

This is of particular interest to cigar smokers because FDA is expected to announce its final ruling on the potential regulation of premium cigars and other unregulated tobacco products in the immediate future.

Many legislative experts had previously told halfwheel that FDA might wait to announce its finalized rules until it had a permanent commissioner, although support for that theory has wained in recent months.

For more information about FDA’s potential regulation of premium cigars, please visit

Update (Feb. 24, 2016) Califf was confirmed as the commissioner.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.