Today, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (“IPCPR”), Cigar Association of America (“CAA”), and Cigar Rights of America (“CRA”) were pleased to announce the adoption of language in the FY 2019 budget as approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations by a vote of 29 – 20 that works to protect premium cigars from overreaching and burdensome regulations, as proposed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
The language addresses significant concerns that the premium cigar industry has maintained since the rule was proposed in 2014. According to Scott Pearce, IPCPR Executive Director, this language is proof positive these concerns are not only heard, but validated. “I think we’ve seen broad recognition on and off Capitol Hill that FDA’s regulatory regime for premium cigars has been deeply flawed since it was introduced four years ago,” said Pearce. “IPCPR and CRA applaud Congressmen Cole, Bishop and all of our supporters on Capitol Hill for finding a sensible legislative solution that provides premium tobacconists and manufacturers certainty. Congress never intended for the premium industry to endure the regulatory burdens imposed by the FDA. Today’s vote reinforces that.”
CAA President Craig Williamson extended his thanks to the Committee for adopting the amendment. Williamson added, “after working on two separate amendments for the past four years the groups realized that we are stronger working together to accomplish the same goal – the protection of the entire cigar industry.”
CRA Executive Director Glynn Loope stated, “This amendment once again sends a clear message that the regulations advanced by the FDA go well beyond the congressional intent of the Tobacco Control Act. We extend our appreciation to our legislative co-sponsors that have served as champions for this language, as well as proponents of regulatory reform as it applies to cigars with the President’s Administration.”
The language as adopted by the committee blends past efforts, by not only providing an exemption for defined premium and large cigars, but changing the “predicate date” for cigars and pipe tobacco from burdensome pre-market approval procedures to the time of the deeming rule issuance, from February 15, 2007 to April 25, 2014.