In their proposal, the FDA provided two options in regards to premium cigars. The first option puts all premium cigars under the department’s jurisdiction, while option two would exclude premium cigars from FDA regulation, essentially allowing the industry to continue to operate in the same manner as it is today. Under the first option, there could be extreme consequences for cigar connoisseurs including, but not limited to, no longer being able to sample cigars at events, a decline in the amount of limited edition and special release cigars, and FDA mandatory testing of cigars which will result in a decrease in products introduced to the market.
The proposed requirements for defining as a “Premium Cigar” are:
1. Is wrapped in whole tobacco leaf
2. Contains a 100 percent leaf tobacco binder
3. Contains primarily long filler tobacco
4. Is made by combining manually the wrapper, filler, and binder
5. Has no filter, tip, or non-tobacco mouthpiece and is capped by hand
6. Has a retail price (after any discounts or coupons) of no less than $10 per cigar (adjusted, as necessary, every 2 years, effective July 1st, to account for any increases in the price of tobacco products since the last price adjustment)
7. Does not have a characterizing flavor other than tobacco
8. Weighs more than 6 pounds per 1000 units.
The 75 day comment period is short and we must use all of the time we have left to make sure our opinions are heard. Feel free to visit our website and view the timeline of these crucial events as well as a sample letter with a link to where you can submit your comments directly to the FDA. There are also links to other cigar industry resources like Cigar Rights of America (CRA) and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) legislative action centers. It is important that we all communicate one unified voice to the FDA as the proposed regulations will drastically affect the way we enjoy cigars.