Cigar lovers hope to light fire under FDA

Nowadays tobacco stores represent a wide range of cigars – large hand-rolled cigars, small machine-made cigars, little cigars that are as cigarettes in size. All the more, there are about as many cigars as there are lovers of them. Since federal controllers weigh standards for the whole industry, some cigar smokers should assure themselves the products they enjoy don’t go up in smoke.

Premium Cigars

A pile of premium cigars

While FDA has said about its attempt to control cigars under a 2009 law that gave it power over the tobacco industry.

If it is a measure of FDA as it was with cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, then it means that it would ban certain flavors, demand new pack warning labels, limit sizes and shapes of cigars, or set limitations for marketing, advertising and retail sales.

The premium cigar industry affirms that even few limitations could damage cigar companies and cigar shops, whose products form only a small portion of tobacco sales. Cigars do not represent an issue as cigarettes and the range of sizes and shapes of cigars makes world-wide specifications almost impossible.

The House Appropriations Committee commented upon the question in its report on the fiscal year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill, saying to the FDA that “premium cigars have unique features and have excessive price points and are not sold to youth.”

Bill Spann, CEO of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association, questioned  FDA if they want to concentrate their strengths on controlling on tobacco products to correspond to the Tobacco Control Act, where is best to spend those scarce inputs — on a tenth of a percent of the market or on a big part of the market?”

In accordance with the federal data, cigarette smokers rate exceeds cigar smokers rate – there are 45.3 million U.S. cigarette smokers and nearly 13.3 million cigar smokers in the U.S.

In concordance with data from Euromonitor International, U.S. tobacco sales made more than $107 billion in 2011, but only 7 %, or $7.77 billion, were made up of cigars. Only 250 million, out of the 7 billion cigars that are sold each year, categorize as premium cigars, which prices vary from $6 to $30 and are similar to fine wines and craft beer.

In the House, the resolution funded by U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, a Republican from Florida that is home to many of the U.S. premium cigar makers has got more than 200 co-sponsors.

The Senate resolution, funded by Democrat Bill Nelson, as well from Florida, gained more than 10 co-sponsors.

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