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FDA to Reconsider Stance on Premium Cigars

March 27th, 2018

Administration Seeks Public Input & Additional Data on Premium Cigar Use

FDA continues to overhaul its tobacco policy – and is now considering an exemption for premium cigars.

On March 23rd, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, urged premium cigar smokers, retailers and other members of the cigar industry to share additional input regarding the regulating of premium cigars. The request came in an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM), which was formally released on March 26th.

 What You Need to Know:

The ANPRM will formally reexamine how “premium cigars” fit into FDA’s regulatory authority, part of a review of its tobacco policy enforcement. As part of this renewed consideration, FDA seeks another round of public input and scientific data specifically focusing on the consumption of premium cigars. The action comes on the heels of Notices regarding the lowering of nicotine levels in cigarettes, and the removal of flavorings from tobacco products.

Gottlieb stated, “We’re aware of the ongoing interest into how ‘premium’ cigars fit into our policy framework. As such, we’re welcoming stakeholders to share any new and relevant information that could inform the FDA’s regulation of ‘premium’ cigars.”

FDA is seeking further input on these topics:

  • The definition of “premium” cigars;
  • Use patterns of “premium” cigars generally, and among youth and young adults specifically;
  • Public health considerations associated with “premium” cigars, including health effects;
  • Studies or information regarding consumer perceptions of the health risks of “premium” cigars; and
  • Studies or information on whether any applicable manufacturing, marketing, sale, distribution, advertising, labeling, and/or packaging requirements and restrictions should be applied differently to “premium” cigars compared to other tobacco products, including other cigars.

Why is this Important?

ALL cigars – including premium cigars – came under FDA regulation in 2016, when it issued the Deeming Rule.

This new Notice allows the public – including cigar enthusiasts – to fully voice their views on the regulation of a handmade artisanal product, and to note the distinctions that make premium cigars a unique product that should not be regulated in the same vein as cigarettes. In allowing new comments, Gottlieb aims to “address the question of whether ‘premium’ cigars present different risks or patterns of use… and therefore merit different consideration by the FDA.

“The goal is to ensure the FDA has a broad scientific and regulatory foundation to efficiently and effectively implement the Tobacco Control Act,” says Gottlieb.

The ANPRM has drawn the attention of the J.C. Newman Cigar Co., who released their own response stating, “We are very eager to share this new and informative research with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Center for Tobacco Products.”

How Can You Help?

Starting Monday, March 26, a 90-day comment period will officially begin. All insightful comments and data must be sent to the FDA by June 25. We highly encourage all supporters of premium cigars to defend our right to smoke by commenting here.