Not long ago, we let you know about the proposed regulations the FDA wants to impose upon tobacco products, including premium cigars and pipe tobacco. One particularly disturbing part of this is they want all new cigars and tobaccos to undergo extensive and expensive testing, which could take over a year to complete, and would be so costly as to all but halt the introduction of new and limited edition cigars and tobacco blends. There are a lot of us who enjoy premium tobacco products, but not so many that the smaller companies can afford to pay for the testing to bring a new item to market. To make matters worse, the FDA wants to impose the arbitrary date of February 15, 2007 as the date at which existing items would be grandfathered in. Any product that was introduced after that date would have to go through testing and approval.
What does that mean to you? Well, if you enjoy cigars from Don Pepin Garcia, Tatuaje, Viaje among many others, you could see many of them disappear until testing is complete, and that’s only if those companies are willing to pay for the testing. From the pipe perspective, all of our Hearth & Home Marquee series would vanish, along with newer blends from around the world.
We ask you to follow the link to comment on the FDA’s site to let them know that you oppose these extreme measures. We’ve included sample wording below that you can copy and paste, but feel free to create your own. We just want to remind you that polite and civil comments will be taken more seriously than a rant.
If you enjoy a good cigar or pipe, this is the best chance you have of continuing to be able to purchase the wide variety of products that we offer you. The clock is ticking, so please act now.
More details about these regulations -
Here are the two biggest issues –
If the FDA has their way, they will define a premium cigar as one that has a retail price over $10! For years we’ve brought you a wide variety of hand-rolled, all-tobacco cigars for much less than that. Why is that definition important? It’s because premium cigars will be less stringently regulated than non-premiums. But, by setting the higher limit to qualify as a premium cigar, there are two potential outcomes, neither of which you’ll like. The first possibility is that many of your favorite, 100% tobacco cigars will be lumped together with machine-made cigars that contain non-tobacco products. This means that many of the brands you enjoy could be treated the same as the convenience store brands, and could disappear altogether. The other possibility isn’t any more desirable. Manufacturers that now make cigars that sell for less than $10 might feel it necessary to raise the prices of their products up to that level to keep their cigars from falling into the more stringently regulated non-premium category.
Should this happen, it could spell disaster. The most obvious thing is that many of us won’t be able to afford to enjoy a product that’s totally legal! But also, there will be plenty of collateral damage. Since sales will certainly drop, thousands of people in the US will lose their jobs, along with many more people going jobless in Central and South America and the Caribbean. In today’s job climate, it could take years for those affected to find work. Additionally, the economies of some of the smaller countries could collapse, which will lead to those nations becoming unstable. The FDA should define a premium cigar by the way it’s made and what it contains, rather than price.
Pipe smokers will also be impacted by the new proposals. Pipe tobaccos that existed on or before February 15, 2007 will be grandfathered in without additional scrutiny, but any blend brought to market after that date would have to undergo testing that could cost many thousands of dollars for each individual blend. The manufacturers might just pull those blends off the market, rather than spending an exorbitant amount of money on one particular blend, and if they did, it would add enough to the cost of the blend that the price would become ridiculously high. Either way, many of your newer favorites could vanish, or be priced out of reach for many of us.
For that reason, we encourage you to contact your Congressman and Senator to object to these draconian measures, and we also ask that you send your comments to the FDA regarding these proposed guidelines and policies. Please remind your legislators that you vote, and that their support, or lack thereof, will be remembered on Election Day. It’s important that your letters and comments be civil, as rants and threats will be disregarded out of hand or looked upon as proof that they’re making the right move.
If you enjoy premium tobacco products, the time to act is NOW! If you haven’t already sent your comments, go back up the page and follow the 3 easy steps to make your voice heard. If you don’t, the day of relaxing with a fine cigar or pipe may be drawing to a close.