Regulations are nothing new to the cigar aficionado. Whether it’s smoking bans or higher taxes, smokers have accepted these regulations and dealt with them in stride. While the regulations to date could be considered reasonable, there is a looming battle that would radically change the way connoisseurs enjoy premium cigars.
On June 22, 2009, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law. This law grants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to regulate the entire tobacco industry. Taking full advantage of their new jurisdiction, the FDA publicly voiced their intent to deem premium cigars subject to federal regulation. While they did not go into specifics of how they would regulate the industry, experts predict that the FDA would impose restrictions in several ways that would drastically change the way cigar connoisseurs enjoy premium cigars. Such regulations could include the elimination of walk-in humidors, limiting the nicotine content of cigars, which would change the flavor, and banning events where free samples are provided to legal adult smokers. While these regulations are daunting, the premium cigar industry is taking measures to exempt this quality product from the blanket regulations of the FDA.
In 2012, key figures in the cigar industry came together with bill co-sponsors Bill Posey (R-Florida) and Kathy Castor (D-Florida) to introduce H.R. 1639, a bill seeking to exempt premium cigars from FDA regulation. The goal of the bill was to block the FDA from regulating premium cigars and having a negative impact on the jobs that the premium cigar industry creates. The bill received bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. Later that year, the bill achieved a working majority in the House of Representatives and sent a clear message to the FDA that the premium cigar industry was not going to be steamrolled by the FDA intentions to change the way people enjoy cigars.
In 2013, the bill was reintroduced as H.R. 792 by co-sponsors Bill Posey and Kathy Castor, the same sponsors of H.R. 1639. H.R. 792 has the same purpose of H.R. 1639, which is to protect premium cigars from FDA regulation. In addition to this, the bill also further defines what constitutes a premium cigar.
With the introduction of H.R. 792, the premium cigar industry is once again fighting to ensure that cigar enthusiasts all over the nation are allowed to smoke cigars. Since the bill was reintroduced, H.R. 792 has to regain a working majority of supporters in the House. This is where the everyday cigar enthusiast will play a key role. By contacting representatives and asking them to support H.R. 792, cigar smokers will do their part to ensure that the cigar industry will not be ripped apart by the FDA. In addition to contacting representatives, becoming a lifetime member of Cigar Rights of America (CRA) is another great way for cigar smokers to help protect the cigar industry. The CRA is a premium cigar lobbyist group dedicated to ensuring that the interests of cigar enthusiasts are protected from harsh regulations. By becoming a member, cigar smokers are providing support for the CRA’s efforts. To learn more about the CRA, go to their website and become a member today.