WASHINGTON - Premium cigars have had little oversight from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but that is likely to change, Reuters reports.
The FDA has heavily regulated cigarettes and smokeless tobacco since it gained authority over tobacco three years ago, but the agency has largely left cigars alone.
Because the FDA indicated it would be designing a strategy to address non-regulated tobacco products, premium cigar makers and shops are becoming concerned. So are some members of Congress, who are considering legislative action to exclude premium cigars from agency rules.
The Cigar Rights of America is funding opposition to any FDA oversight of premium cigars. The group notes on its website that on April 26, 2010, December 20, 2010, July 7, 2011, and February 13, 2012, the FDA publicly posted its intent to regulate cigars. Legislation introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1639) and Senate (S. 1461) seek to keep premium and traditional cigars "off limits" from FDA regulation.
In support of its position, cigar manufacturers draw attention to the fact that kids are less likely to consider $10 cigars, which means regulation isn€™t as crucial as for other tobacco products that might attract children.
Later this month, the agency and Cigar Rights of America will meet to discuss the matter. Earlier this month, a new report found that more Americans were smoking cigars.