For too long, the FDA has tried to regulate cigarettes, e-cigs and premium cigars as if they are the same product. The are not. Now there is a movement in Congress to get the FDA out of the premium cigar business.
The measure, from Reps. Kathy Castor (D–Fla.) and Bill Posey (R–Fla.), was introduced in the House earlier this month. It aims to deregulate the manufacture and sale of premium cigars by removing them from the jurisdiction of the Tobacco Control Act of 2009.
In 2000, the Supreme Court case FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. determined that the FDA did not currently have the ability to regulate tobacco as it was neither a “drug” nor a “device.”
Consequently, the Tobacco Control Act of 2009 was passed to explicitly grant the FDA the new power to regulate tobacco products, similar to how it regulates food and pharmaceuticals. It allowed the FDA to establish its own tobacco product standards, restrict tobacco marketing, and mandate warning labels. Originally, it applied only to cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco—but left room for the FDA to regulate “any other tobacco products that the Secretary by regulation deems to be subject.” In 2016, the FDA decided that this meant it could regulate cigars and pipes.
The FDA has tried to lump all tobacco products together and regulate them as if they’re similar products. Premium cigars aren’t cigarettes. They aren’t e-cigs. They aren’t marketed to children. And many of the ways the FDA tries to regulate premium cigars just ends up hurting the mom & pop cigar stores and lounges that cigar fans love to frequent.
We can only hope this bill is passed and signed into law.