The Deeming Document
241pages of proposed regulation, studies, evidence and explanations were published on April 24, many years in the making and with probably more new questions raised than those answered.
The deeming document is not a final law. It's also not the final law. It's a proposed document that is subject to change. And it's also hardly the last time the FDA will act on tobacco products like cigars and e-cigarettes.
In short, the deeming documents would extend many of the same restrictions placed on cigarettes and some cigars to other products including e-cigarettes, pipes, hookah tobacco and cigars.
The FDA formally proposed two different roads (option one and option two) it could go down.
Under Option 1 premium cigars would be regulated much like cigarettes and other products. Click above (where it says "Option 1") for more details.
The FDA is requesting public comment on which option it should take, as well as various other components. No other product category received a proposed exemption like premium cigars. It's an indication that the FDA is open to the idea and considering it to some degree. Further comments made by officials would indicate the FDA is legitimately considering the option.
It also made a few decisions before even arriving at this crossroads, many of which are evident throughout the document.
While the FDA might side with premium cigar leaders that these products are not marketed towards children, it will not waiver on the health issue of cigars. It still believes that premium cigars pose a health risk to the user and ultimately, it recognizes that they are part of the agency's mandate.
It's important to view the deeming regulations—exemption or not—as a foundational document. This means regardless of what the FDA does with this set of proposed rules, there will be other proposals in the future.
Not responding and not encouraging others who enjoy premium cigars to respond would be shooting yourself in the foot if you enjoy premium cigars.
There is no set "reach 20,000 supporters and cigars are safe" reward. Rather, a consistent and widespread effort reenforcing some of the FDA's statements regarding the lack of connection between premium cigars and children, as well as asking for appropriate modifications to the exemption could result in the premium cigar industry surviving with very little damage.