Cigar manufacturers and store owners continue to criticize the Food and Drug Administration’s potential efforts to regulate their business.
At issue is the FDA’s stated intention to begin regulating cigars the same way they do cigarettes. The organization was given the option to exercise this ability through a law passed in 2009, and although they haven’t issued any rulings as of yet, many are already worrying that the cigar business will be hurt. Cigar lobbyists argue that their industry doesn’t require the careful oversight that regular tobacco products do.
On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee asked the FDA to take the fact that cigars aren’t as cheap as tobacco and that they’re not marketed to kids into consideration once they do make their decision. And the head of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association expressed the need for the FDA to focus on those aspects of the tobacco business that most typically draw kids in. He said that cigars are such a minuscule portion of the market that resources would be wasted if they were regulated like other tobacco products.
Cigar purveyors are worried that their ability to offer a wide selection of cigar products will be limited, and thus they would lose customers who can’t get certain tastes and flavors. Plus, they argue that customers won’t be as likely to purchase a cigar that’s sitting behind the counter.
The head of Tobacco-Free Kids stressed the need to crack down on small flavored cigars that can be bought cheaply at convenience stores.