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House Bill HR 1854 Would Exempt Premium Cigars From FDA Regulation

March 26th, 2019

Bill Introduced by Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL)

Yesterday, “HR 1854,” the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2019, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D). If passed, premium cigars would be exempt from regulation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

“Congresswoman Castor’s bi-partisan coalition on this legislation will work to be a platform for communicating to the Trump Administration and Congress that regulating premium cigars is a case study in bureaucratic overreach that goes beyond the Congressional intent of the Tobacco Control Act,” said Glynn Loope, Executive Director of Cigar Rights of America. “We look forward to briefing members from both sides of the aisle as to the intent of HR 1854 and as to why the existing regulatory overreach on premium cigars needs to be reformed.” Loope also indicated that the studies and data from the most recent FDA public comment period, which closed July 25, 2018, would also be part of the briefing.

Fortunately, for cigar industry manufacturers, workers, and retailers, the bill has bi-partisan support from the following 25 original co-sponsors: Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR), Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), and Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH).

Cigar Rights of America applauded Congresswoman Castor and the original co-sponsors on the bill for their continued work and support of small businesses in the United States, as well as all of the trading partners in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin.

Congressman Bill Posey’s leadership on premium cigar exemption legislation during the last four sessions was also lauded by CRA. Mr. Posey’s support led to the successful passage of exemption language by the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as many other successful placements of language in appropriations measures, which successfully conveyed the position of the premium handmade cigar industry.

Additionally, CRA will be actively working to support Senate Bill, S.9, introduced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, which is currently supported by eleven other Senators.

“S.9 and HR 1854 will complement our ongoing messaging to the President’s Administration and appropriate agencies and offices that premium handmade cigars do not warrant the level of regulation proposed to date,” added Mr. Loope. “While the numerous delays granted by the court and agency are a source of relief, we are working diligently to remove the regulatory cloud that looms over the premium cigar industry.”