The White House petition asking President Obama to tell the Food & Drug Administration not to regulate the premium cigar industry reached the required 25,000 signatures on Wednesday evening and will now be forwarded to the Obama administration for an official response.

“It has been great to see so many people get involved in our Democratic process,” said Jeff Borysiewicz, the owner of Corona Cigar Co. in Orlando, FL. Borysiewicz is also the Cigar Rights of America board chairman and on the board of directors for the IPCPR. He was the person who filed the petition and the first to sign it.

Bill Spann, Chief Executive Officer of the IPCPR, shared Borysiewicz’s enthusiasm about having the petition reach the required number of signatures to require a response from the Obama administration.

“It’s gratifying and an expression of the power of what we’ve come to call ‘Team Cigar,'” said Spann. “But to really impress the current administration of the power of the voting bloc of the premium cigar aficionados, we need to smash through that. 25,000 is the minimum. We need 50,000, 75,000, 100,000 – everyone who enjoys a premium cigar to log on and sign the petition. We need to be a much stronger voice than 25,000 strong. I know they’re out there, and 25,000 is a great start but we don’t need to finish there, we need to finish much higher than that.”

The petition now goes to a member of the White House staff, who will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.

Created on April 11, 2012, the petition is titled “We Petition the Obama Administration to Not Allow the FDA to Regulate Premium Cigars.” It reads as follows:

Dear Mr. President:

The FDA is considering the creation of regulations for the premium cigar industry. These regulations will jeopardize over 85,000 American jobs, destroy America’s “mom & pop” premium cigar retailers & manufacturers, and risk over 250,000 jobs in Latin American that produce cigars, impacting the economic/political stability in the region.

We hope you will stand up for small businesses that dot Main Street America & recognize that premium cigars are enjoyed by adults, are not addictive and therefore do not conform to the Congressional intent of the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act.

Tell the FDA to leave our premium cigars alone. With this nation’s more pressing issues, harming my simple ability to enjoy a cigar should not be a priority of the government.

“I think we have finally woken up as an industry and as a group of like-minded individuals who have realized that the simple pleasure of enjoying a cigar is no longer a freedom that we can take for granted,” Borysiewicz added.

“The petition to President Obama is our way of delivering a message that keeping the FDA out of our humidors and neighborhood cigar shops is an important issue to a lot of Americans.  This petition is just one part of the process.  I don’t think anyone expects the Obama Administration to stop the FDA from regulating cigars…even though he has the power to do so.”

Signatures for the petition will be accepted through May 11.

While the Obama administration reviews the petition and drafts a response, both CRA and IPCPR are asking the cigar smoking community to contact their elected federal representatives and ask for their support of House Resolution 1639 and Senate Bill 1461, The Traditional Cigar Manufacturing & Small Business Jobs Preservation Act. The joint bills would decree that premium/traditional cigars should be off limits to FDA regulation. Cigar Rights of America has set up an online petition for people to sign that allows you to contact both your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative with one form.

Overall Score

Avatar photo

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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.