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FDA in Holding Pattern on Cigar Regulation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will weigh the rules applying to regulation of premium cigars, the agency said in a press release, as it continues to field public comments and further its own research. 

The agency continues to consider if and how it will regulate cigars as it does other tobacco products, including vaping devices and cigarettes. In 2016, the FDA announced cigars would be treated like other products.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in August that the FDA must revisit its cigar regulation policy, which cigar makers felt was unfair.

Much of the concern on the FDA’s side is the marketing of tobacco products to young people, and claims on its website that “each day, on average, nearly 2,000 youth under age 18 years of age smoked their first cigar.”   

The cigar industry is represented by  the Premium Cigar Association and Cigar Rights of America, who use lobbyists and lawsuits to battle a cadre of health and political leaders who want to define cigars as any other tobacco product, thus making them subject to regulations including warning statements on packaging.

They argue that  because premium cigars are handcrafted, rolled in small batches, and subject to natural variation, the same process used for evaluating and regulating other tobacco products, most of which are made via automation, does not work for premium cigars.

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