Congressman Posey introduces legislation to save premium cigars

Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) introduced H.R. 3982, the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act,” in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would exclude handcrafted premium cigars from FDA’s regulation of cigarettes and other tobacco products. This bill is a companion to S. 438, which Senator Marco Rubio introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year.

“Premium cigars are natural, handcrafted products that are distinct from cigarettes and all other types of tobacco products,” said Drew Newman, fourth-generation cigar maker and owner of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. “Since the FDA decided to regulate premium cigars like cigarettes, our historic industry has been under threat because we are unable to comply with the costly and cumbersome regulatory regime created for mass-market tobacco products. Because FDA’s own research shows that premium cigars are distinct from cigarettes, it does not make sense to treat them the same.”

In 2016, FDA decided to regulate all tobacco products just like it does cigarettes. Federal courts have temporarily prevented the most onerous regulatory requirements from being applied to premium cigars. This legislation would provide permanent relief.

“Earlier this month, FDA announced that it is proposing new requirements for how tobacco products must be manufactured, tested, packed, and stored,” said Newman. “Such standards may make sense for cigarettes. Because premium cigars are rolled by hand and each one is different, it could be impossible for premium cigars to meet FDA’s new standards.”

Representatives Castor and Posey have led a bipartisan coalition championing this legislation since it was first introduced in 2011. In the last Congress, this bill was co-sponsored by 84 Members of Congress. It was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a larger bill, but unfortunately, it was not considered in the U.S. Senate.

“My family and I are extremely grateful to Representatives Castor and Posey for their steadfast leadership in advocating for Florida’s historic premium cigar industry and the thousands of jobs and hundreds of small businesses that it supports across the state,” said Newman.

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