If Uncle Sam has his way, the premium cigars you enjoy may one day be regulated by the FDA and taxed with expensive user fees.
But if Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has his way, a bill he has filed will keep the government’s hands off your smokes and out of your wallets.
According to Cigar Aficionado, Senator Rubio filed a bill calling for the exemption of handmade cigars and certain premium cigars from FDA regulations and high user fees.
If passed, the bill, “The Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2019,” (also known as S.9 of the 116th Congress), would protect cigars that meet the following guidelines:
• It must be wrapped in 100 percent leaf tobacco and bunched in 100 percent tobacco filler;
• Can not contain a filter, tip or non-tobacco mouthpiece;
• Must weigh at least six pounds per 1,000 count; and
• Has 100 percent tobacco binder and is hand rolled or is made with human hands to lay the wrapper or binder onto one machine that bunches, wraps and caps the individual cigars or has a homogenized tobacco leaf binder and is made in the United States using human hands to lay a 100 percent leaf tobacco wrapper onto one machine that bunches, wraps and caps each individual cigar.
To date, the bill has ten co-sponsors in the senate, including Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana as well as Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, both of Arkansas.
And while a House companion bill has not yet been introduced, it’s believed that Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), a past supporter of cigar rights, may introduce a cigar-exemption bill in the house.
Our friends at The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailer’s Association (IPCPRA) are strong supporters of the S.9 bill.
“A decade ago, few folks on Capitol Hill could barely tell you the difference between a premium cigar vs. any other tobacco product,” said IPCPR executive director Scott Pearce, in a statement published on the association’s website. “Now – we have a tenth of the Senate showing their resolute support for the industry within the first week of a new Congress.”
“This is in part because of the hard work and advocacy of IPCPR’s members and the association’s presence in Washington, DC,” continues Pearce. “This is why we tell our folks that advocacy works – and tools like cigaraction.org are so important to our industry. It brings retailers and consumers together with their members.”
The IPCPR urges cigar enthusiasts, industry members and retailers to reach out to their respective lawmakers to voice their support for the bill.
For more information about the bill and to keep up-to-date on its progress, see the IPCPR’s website at: ipcprlegislative.org.