The Food & Drug Administration last week announced its proposed rule that would, if affirmed, ban flavoring in cigars across the board. The move is aimed at the market for products sold in liquor stores, gas stations and convenience outlets.
“Characterizing flavors in cigars, such as strawberry, grape, cocoa and fruit punch, increase appeal and make cigars easier to use, particularly among youth and young adults,” The FDA said in a press release.
But the rule could extend into the flavored premium market, and is drawing protests from stakeholders. The Premium Cigar Association questions the pending rule and is seeking clarification on several elements, including how flavor descriptors are characterized. The PCA in a press release said it vows to press the FDA on several issues, including the necessity of a prohibition.
“The FDA failed to do [its] homework in this rule and the document is filled with cherry-picked data that mirrors spoon-fed talking points from anti-tobacco groups,” PCA President Greg Zimmerman said in a statement. “The proposed rule is a mess that is ripe with potential challenges and reflective of an agency that is unable to prioritize its resources appropriately.”
Starting this week, the public can provide comments on the proposed rules. To do so, follow the directions here. Comments will be taken through July 5.
The PCA has put together a Q & A regarding the proposed rule and its potential effects.
Drew Estate, which features infused cigars in its wide portfolio of products, issued a press release condemning the proposed rule.
“The Food and Drug Administration is moving forward with a proposed product standard regarding characterizing flavors in cigars despite a near-vacuum of scientific evidence to support this decision,” the company said in its statement. “The evidence that does exist with respect to premium cigars, both traditional and flavored, shows occasional consumption by a small cohort of adults, and based on the government’s own studies, that youth usage is virtually non-existent.”
Drew Estate is owned by Swisher International, which produces and sells several products targeted by the FDA’s proposed rule.