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Congress

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Bills have been introduced in Congress to limit FDA's ability to regulate cigars, though so far, those efforts have not yielded any results.

It's important to note that the standalone bills that are introduced are not seen ass likely options to pass, but rather are used for a number of reasons including giving the cigar industry a voice in Congress, used to help add pro-cigar causes to larger bills like the omnibus and to apply pressure to FDA.

1. EXEMPT PREMIUM CIGARS FROM FDA REGULATION

Most of the bills have attempted to remove cigars from FDA control by an exemption. It would establish a term known as "premium cigars," which would be exempt. Most cigars you see at a local shop would qualify as "premium cigars" have been defined as:

  • Weighing at least 6 pounds per 1,000 cigars
  • Containing a whole leaf binder, or if made in the U.S., a homogenized binder applied to a machine by hand
  • Contains 100 percent leaf tobacco wrapper
  • Contains 100 percent leaf tobacco filler

Typically, the definitions have made no attempt delineate premium cigars based on whether the cigars are flavored or infused, though a recent bill specifically excluded flavored cigars from being "premium cigars."

2. CHANGE THE PREDICATE DATE

Other attempts by both the cigar and e-cigarette/vaping industries have been to make Congress change the grandfathering date from Feb. 15, 2007 to Aug. 8, 2016.

This would mean that any product that was being marketed when the rules went into effect would be grandfathered, substantially reducing the costs associated with product approval.

Change the predicate date is substantially more controversial than exempting premium as it would substantially reduce the burden on the e-cigarette and vaping industry.

Contacting your U.S. Senators and Representatives is most important.

It is most likely that any change would be included in a larger omnibus bill, a spending package that funds the government. Technically, this mechanism would only be good for that fiscal year but in all likelihood the changes would be enacted for many years.

Last Updated: May 24, 2019.

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