A couple of bills circulating through Congress could end up taking away some of the power of the Food and Drug Administration.
Specifically, the bills being considered would take away the FDA’s ability to regulate traditional cigars. In 2009, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act made it possible for the FDA to have authority over cigarettes, with an option to extend regulation to cigars as well. If either of the new bills pass, they would ostensibly take away that option. However, they would keep in place the FDA’s ability to regulate miniature cigars that are more akin to cigarettes.
One of the other effects of the 2009 law was a ban on adding flavoring to cigarettes, as it was this flavoring that many people blamed on turning teenagers onto smoking in the first place. But cigars currently don’t face the same obligation to remove flavoring. Chocolate and fruit infusion has become the norm in cigars, and the new bill would prevent the FDA from stopping this practice.
Many states have reported that cigar smoking among teens is on the rise. Officials in Maryland believe that it’s because of the added flavor available in the products. This rise in cigar smoking comes despite the fact that cigar smokers have higher lung cancer rates than nonsmokers. Anecdotal evidence suggests that teenagers mistakenly think there is less of a risk of adverse health consequences with cigars.