The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) sent letters to four manufacturers, including Swisher International, Inc., stating that the agency believes that some products the companies sell are mislabeled.
Specifically, the agency believes products labeled as little cigars are in fact cigarettes. In addition to Swisher, similar letters were sent to Cheyenne International LLC, Prime Time International Co. and Southern Cross Tobacco Co. Inc.
It should be noted that these are not the products for which Swisher and others are best known for. Those products are categorized as cigarillos and are sold usually in foil packs. What the agency identified are products marketed as “little cigars,” which are packaged in containers that much more resemble traditional cigarette packaging.
In a letter sent to Swisher, the agency stated why it believes the products are mislabeled:
Based on their overall presentation, appearance, and packaging and labeling, these products are likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette. Therefore, these products meet the definition of a cigarette in the FD&C Act.
“We are analyzing the letter,” said Joe Augustus, svp of global affairs for Swisher, in a statement to halfwheel. “We disagree with the initial analysis that little cigars are cigarettes.”
FDA has requested manufacturers respond within 15 “working days.”
“The agency expects many of these products to remain available for purchase by consumers at retail establishments while the FDA works with the manufacturers to ensure the products are in compliance with the requirements of the law,” said a press release.