The FDA recently released the deeming document detailing how they want to regulate the cigar industry. In 2009 the Tobacco Control Act was passed giving the FDA regulatory oversight over cigarettes, roll your own and smokeless tobacco. Now they are looking to gain oversight over all "Other Tobacco Products" (OTP) including premium cigars.
According to the deeming document “once a tobacco product is deemed, FDA may put in place ‘restrictions on the sale and distribution of a tobacco product,’ including age-related access
restrictions and advertising and promotion restrictions, if FDA determines the restrictions are appropriate for the protection of the public health.” They would also apply the same criteria to approving new cigars as is currently being used with cigarettes.
This means they could fully regulate how cigars are package and sold. Potential limitations include mandating generic boxes and presentation essentially eliminating the branding of cigars, new taxes, banning flavored cigars, restricting access to walk in humidors and imposing restrictive testing requirements which would especially hurt small boutique operations. It would be very costly and time consuming to bring new products to the market.
One of the proposals would exempt "premium" cigars over $10. This is a poor choice because over half of the cigars sold in the premium market are between $6 and $10. See chart below.
What can you do? Well you can take some time to submit comments to the FDA on their website: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2014-N-0189-0001
You can also sign the petition from Cigar Rights of America at:
This is very important because if the FDA imposes their draconian regulations your cigar choices will become much more expensive and limited. It will become much more difficult for businesses like the Nice Ash to stay in business. Please take action today, it only takes a couple of minutes.
Jeff's claim to fame is that he sleeps with the owner of the Nice Ash. Jeff will share his musings on cigars, whiskey, beer, poker and any other things that peak his interest. I hope you enjoy.