November 27, 2013 (Washington, DC) — On November 27, 2013, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) released an updated version of their regulatory agenda on cigars. This announcement is the most detailed release we have seen in recent years. The release specifically states, “the proposed rule would generate some immediate quantifiable benefits by dissuading smokers of small and large cigars,” and “it would impose costs in the form of registration, submission, labeling, and other requirements.” The full version can be read here. We are closer than ever to regulations that could severely affect your livelihood, and IPCPR is fighting on your behalf.

Following a year of meetings and information sharing with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), IPCPR has learned that the process to federally regulate cigars has moved into the next phase. The proposed rule on regulating cigars has moved from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the OMB for review. This agency will analyze the rule and determine its economic impact on the industry before it is released for public comment.  It is critical that you are prepared for public comment period to be sure the voice of the retail tobacconist is heard.

The regulatory agenda notes international trade considerations, as the majority of premium cigars are imported. However, it also instructs agencies, when releasing the proposed rule, to consider Executive Order 13563 which states, “…each agency shall identify and consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public.” Also, for the first time, OIRA recognizes that proposed regulations should apply to tobacco products, “if FDA determines that such regulation would be appropriate for the protection of the public health.” These potential regulations will greatly affect how your small business operates.

OIRA also indicates that FDA has many options when considering regulations on different classes of tobacco products. These options include, but are not limited to, “deeming only, but exempt newly-deemed products from certain requirements” and exempting “certain classes of products from certain requirements.”

IPCPR is here to fight for you. We will continue to monitor the regulatory agenda and legislative process in Washington, DC, and provide you with up-to-date information. If you have any questions, please contact Senior Director of Legislative Affairs, Kip Talley ([email protected]). Keep the FDA out of your humidor and please remember to contact your Member of Congress and Senators to urge them to support H.R. 792 & S. 772, respectively. For more information, please visit the legislative page at www.ipcpr.org.Together, we can make a difference.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.