Yesterday was not a good day for cigar smokers.
It was not a good day for everyone working in this business. It certainly wasn’t my favorite day of the year. But, at the end of the day, the sun went down and assuming our servers are working and the apocalypse was avoided, the sun rose in the morning. And you’re now reading this.
Today is Friday, May 6, 2016, it’s a new day and also, just another day.
The regulations as announced yesterday by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are not positive. Once we know the regulatory fees for substantial equivalence, the picture about just how bad the regulations are will become a lot clearer. Regardless, it’s challenging to find anything better than silver livings in yesterday’s announcement.
That being said, the cigar industry is not dead.
Here’s what we do know:
- You will still be able to walk into a humidor and buy a cigar;
- You will still be able to order cigars online;
- You will still be able to purchase cigars in unique, albeit, partially covered boxes;
- You will still be able to buy a flavored cigar, a 60 ring gauge cigar, a 70 ring gauge cigar;
- You will still be able to buy a bundle cigar;
- You will still be able to smoke cigars in a cigar shop so long as your town or state has not barred them.
You will also still be able to read this website; and presumably, you will also be able to read about new cigars. It likely will slow down after Aug. 8, 2016. There might even be a lull in new products as FDA figures out just how to do regulate a business as unique as ours, but if there’s a new cigar to report on come Aug. 9, Patrick and I will be ready to write about it and there might be a review on it from Brooks or Brian to follow.
Today is another day and much like we did yesterday, we will review a cigar. We will report on any news in the cigar world. More importantly, we won’t give up.
We won’t give up our reporting and advocacy regarding FDA and other regulatory measures; we won’t give up on our mission of being the industry’s cigar blog; and we won’t give up on you, the reader.
There will be a new normal. Some things that companies are able to do today may be more challenging to accomplish come August. Some of these things might not be feasible at all. But, whatever the new normal is at halfwheel, it will not involve name calling at FDA, it won’t involve raising unnecessary alarm bells of a doomsday scenario and it won’t involve sulking.
We certainly aren’t going to be ignorant of FDA regulations, both the deeming regulations and any future rules, but we also aren’t going to be intimidated by them. We will continue as we’ve done for the last four years, and much like in various points during those four years, we will make adjustments as we need to.
Part of the fight must be fought internally. There are those who believe that the money, time and resources spent lobbying, writing letters and calling officials have been all for naught. Some of those people believe now we must change course, lick wounds and try different, oftentimes more conservative paths. I believe in the opposite, choosing to forgo expansion because of fear of FDA is letting the anti-tobacco side win.
Like all businesses these regulations will force change at halfwheel, it will force us to work harder and make smarter choices; but yesterday’s news will not affect what this site looks like today or tomorrow. It’s still halfwheel, the cigar blog we want to read.