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Are you ready for the government to tell you what kind of cigars you can and cannot smoke? Are you ready for flavored cigars to disappear from the market? How about the outlawing of cigar advertising in newspapers and magazines, on billboards and posters? Are you prepared for a wardrobe change when the government prohibits sale of clothing and other non-tobacco items emblazoned with cigar brand logos? How about no more free samples given out at shows?
Some of these questions could become reality as the FDA moves to realize its intent to regulate the cigar industry. It has the power to do so thanks to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signed by Obama last year. Now the Stogie Guys are sounding the alarm over the law that allows the FDA sweeping powers to “deem cigars to be subject to the Tobacco Control Act and include provisions to address public health concerns raised by cigars.” Some of the aforementioned restrictions have already been applied to the cigarette industry, and cigars may not be far behind.
Equivalent to a kick in the groin for the entire cigar industry, the prospect of the FDA treating cigars like cigarettes is outrageous but all too real. It should come as no surprise given the recent trend in cigar tax hikes and smoking bans, but is nevertheless incredible in its scope and potential impact. While the new powers given to the FDA to regulate cigars are not being fully enforced just yet, it’s only a matter of time.
I, for one, would start stocking up on flavored cigars, as they seem to be in the crosshairs since it’s easy to argue they appeal to children. I don’t know how many middle school and high school students you see puffing a Tatiana at the bus stop, but apparently a nation of responsible cigar smokers is putting them at risk.
When will the madness end? Only when you call your local representative and join the Cigar Rights of America. Even then, we are only sandbagging against a tidal wave of regulation. But you better believe we’ll be there making the last stand with you.