The Basics

On Aug. 8, 2016, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's deeming regulations went into effect. While it marked the first day that FDA was formally regulating cigars, most of the specific rules in regulations did not actually go into effect on Aug. 8 as the deadlines are spread out over many years.

The deeming regulations affect nearly every facet of how cigars are made and sold in America, but their impacts can largely be divided into three main areas.

As part of the deeming regulations, FDA announced that it would require all cigar boxes, advertisements for cigars and in certain cases, potentially even the boxes that cigars are shipped, to have warning labels between 20-30 percent of the surface.

In February 2020, a federal court ruled that the warning labels for cigars were illegal.

Warning labels are still required for other deemed products like e-cigarettes and hookah tobacco.

By far, the costliest part of the regulations in both time and money are new rules regarding how companies may introduce new products.

FDA will require that companies submit applications for approval before selling any new cigars after Aug. 8, 2016. Furthermore, all existing cigars will need to find approval via one of three main pathways.

Because FDA is still updating its policies regarding the main approval pathway, as well as developing its testing protocols, the exact cost of this process unknown.

At this time, this rule is not in effect.

FDA's regulation of tobacco products is funded by the tobacco products themselves.

The Center for Tobacco Products' budget is paid for by user fees, which are now paid by all cigar companies selling cigars in the U.S. These user fees are added to the wholesale cost of cigars.

User fees vary due to both the volume of cigars sold and the cost of those cigars, but halfwheel has estimated the maximum user fees to be:

  • In 2017, 4.31 cents per cigar
  • In 2018, 4.74 cents per cigar
  • In 2019, 5.15 cents per cigar

Last Updated: April 29, 2020.