BCP News Brief – Senator Toomey Encourages FDA to Exclude Premium Cigars from Regulation
United States Senator Pat Toomey (PA-R) took a major stand this week for Pennsylvania workers and the premium cigar industry when he met with several major cigar companies from across the state aiming to eradicate a federal Food and Drug Administration proposed legislation that wants to regulate premium cigars.
On Tuesday, Toomey joined several cigar companies at a news conference in an effort to stop the FDA from regulating premium cigars. Toomey stated that the legislation probably had good intentions but in reality is more like a “solution in search of a problem,” as increased tobacco regulations would hurt cigar companies and kill thousands of jobs.
“Unfortunately, this kind of solution would mean fewer jobs and an economic downturn for this entire industry, and we don’t need that” said Toomey.
Toomey, along with 12 other U.S. Senators, is co-sponsoring a bill (the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act) that excludes premium cigars from the FDA’s regulation. The bill is gaining momentum and recently United States Senator Bob Casey (PA-D) signed on as a sponsor. A sister bill is also in the House, and now has a majority with 220 Congressman signed on as sponsors.
While the FDA legislation has good intentions, to keep cigarettes out of kids’ hands, chances are you won’t see a minor buying a premium cigar. The average premium cigar is aged 5 to 10 years and handcrafted by expert cigar rollers to high quality standards, so there really is no comparison between premium cigars and other tobacco products.
“There’s never been any evidence that there’s an epidemic of young kids smoking $10 cigars,” Toomey said at the conference.
Among the cigar companies represented at the conference was Best Cigar Prices’ Chief Operating Officer, Greg Fox. Fox feels the regulations are extreme and could deeply affect the cigar industry as they would put a majority of cigar companies out of business.
“We are doing our best to educate lawmakers on the difference between ‘big tobacco’ and us,” said Fox. “Premium cigars make up less than 1% of all cigar sales. Our products are used and enjoyed by adults who may also enjoy a fine wine or cognac. The FDA shouldn’t be regulating our industry, and more lawmakers should be interested in saving tens of thousands of jobs nationwide.”