Approaching dusk on December 21, as much of Washington, DC was leaving town in preparation for the Christmas holiday, there was indeed some work being done â€“ but not the type of work that benefits Americaâ€™s cigar consumers, retail tobacconists, nor the manufacturers of this passion we share. Around 3:00 p.m. that afternoon, a new round of regulations, through what is known as the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, was released by the Obama Administration.
Included within those pages, for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services/U.S. Food & Drug Administration, is a notation that represents the first step in establishing regulations for cigars. Before the FDA can create regulations for cigars, they must first â€œdeemâ€ them to be tobacco products under The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Under this release, the FDA will outline what additional products (to join cigarettes and smokeless) shall be regulated, i.e., cigars. They note their intent to do so by April 2013â€¦ and to â€œspecify additional restrictionsâ€ [their words.]
In a conference call with CRA legislative counsel this week, they confirmed that this is â€œthe next step toward regulation.â€ Although the FDA has missed each of their previously established deadlines, we do not have the luxury of taking their past inaction for granted. We have to take each word, act and threat seriously. This moment, will be no different.
Next month, H.R. 1639 and S. 1461 will be re-filed. We have the commitment of the principle bi-partisan patrons of Representative Bill Posey and Representative Kathy Castor to move forward. There will be approximately eighty new members of Congress to acclimate to our issue, and about this new regulatory attempt to bring federal control over cigars.
This week, a milestone was obtained in the effort to communicate our concern to the Administration. Now, over 35,000 individuals have expressed their opinion directly to The White House that premium cigars should not be regulated. This is combined with over 207,000 emails to Congress, telling them the same. Your voice, is working. It was that voice of Cigar Nation that capped 2012 with 221 bi-partisan co-sponsors on H.R. 1639 and fourteen members of the U.S. Senate on S. 1461. We can do it again in 2013.