The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) would like to ban flavored cigars.
As part of the agency’s most recent Unified Agenda of Regulations, FDA formally proposed a ban on cigars with “characterizing flavors.” The proposal is still in its infancy, officially listed in the “prerule stage” but it does serve as a formal notification of what the agency is planning.
Earlier this year, FDA asked for comments regarding a potential flavored cigar restrictions. Now, it appears the agency is ready to move forward with the ban.
FDA’s proposal is as follows:
Evidence shows that flavored tobacco products, especially those that are sweet or are described with terms attractive to kids, appeal to youth and also shows that youth may be more likely to initiate tobacco use with such products. Characterizing flavors in cigars, such as strawberry, grape, orange, and cocoa, enhance taste and make them easier to use. Nearly one million youth in the United States use flavored cigars, placing these youth at risk for cigar-related disease and death. This proposed rule is a tobacco product standard that would ban characterizing flavors in all cigars. We are taking this action to reduce the tobacco-related death associated with cigars.
It should be noted this is hardly the first time the agency has tried to regulate flavored cigars differently than other cigars. In 2014, the agency proposed a potential pathway for an exemption for “premium cigars,” which included a provision that required the cigars not include “characterizing flavors.”
In addition, FDA had tried to introduce even stricter rules for flavored cigars, but those provisions were struck down by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
As of today, flavored cigars are regulated the same as their non-flavored counterparts.
FDA did not provide any new information as to whether it would reevaluate premium cigar regulation.
Shortly after it asked the public for comments on potential flavored cigar restrictions, the agency made a similar request on whether it should treat premium cigars differently than other cigars, a move that would signal a reopening of premium cigar regulations.
That proposal is listed as ongoing.