April, 24, 2014 (Washington D.C.) — The Cigar Association of America, the national trade association representing cigar manufacturers, importers, distributors, and other suppliers, said today that it was prepared to continue working closely with the Food and Drug Administration as FDA establishes regulatory authority over the cigar industry.
FDA released its proposed regulation deeming, among other tobacco products, cigars as subject to the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The proposed rule will be officially published in the Federal Register tomorrow and comments will be due 75 thereafter on July 10, 2014.
FDA today proposed to expand its regulatory authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to include cigars and other tobacco products.
As a voice for the entire cigar industry, CAA has met with FDA numerous times over nearly three years to educate officials about unique facets of the cigar market, including the differences between and among various types of cigars. CAA has advocated for sensible regulation that will avoid youth usage of cigars, safeguard adult consumers’ right to smoke and protect jobs that the cigar industry contributes to the American economy..
“The bottom line here is that FDA appears to recognize that our industry is composed of multiple segments with a tremendous variety of products. FDA also appears to agree with CAA that there is no possibility of fair and reasonable one-size-fits all regulation,” said CAA President Craig Williamson.
CAA helped inform FDA about the diversity of the cigar industry, which is comprised of dozens of mostly small-to-mid-sized suppliers who offer thousands of stock keeping units (SKUs) to the market each year, and that it is critical to the industry that any new federal regulations not unreasonably interfere with the cigar industry’s ability to innovate and bring new cigar products to consumers. Further, CAA provided information to the agency on other key industry issues, such as the use of flavorings, which have been incorporated into the manufacture of cigars for hundreds of years, and the industry’s responsible approach to non face-to-face sales that employs reliable age-verification for internet and mail transactions.
“FDA has taken its responsibility seriously every step of the way,” said Williamson. “We recognize that we’ve now reached another step in the process, and you can be sure the cigar industry will continue to be actively involved through CAA. We don’t always agree with FDA, of course, but we’re confident after today that this agency listens carefully and are cautiously optimistic that it is committed to its mission of fact-based and science-based decision making. CAA is committed to working with FDA on that mission.”