Premium Cigar Amendment added to the FY 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill

US Congress

Today the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations adopted an amendment to the FY 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill  that was proposed by Congressmen Cole and Bishop. The amendment adds bill language to modernize the February 2007 predicate date for certain tobacco products. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 29-20. If it remains in the bill, through the rest of the legislature, including approval by the Senate, the predicate date for pre-market approval procedures will be moved  from February 15, 2007 to April 25, 2014 and it would add language that declares “premium cigars” exempt from the FDA deeming regulations passed in 2016.

In response to the committee vote, the Cigar Right of America (CRA), International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailer (IPCPR) association, and the Cigar Association of America, Inc. (CAA) released a joint press release applauding the work of the committee to protect the premium cigar industry from FDA’s “overreaching and burdensome regulations“.

In the announcement, Scott Pearce, IPCPR Executive Director stated:

“This language is proof positive these concerns are not only heard, but validated. I think we’ve seen broad recognition on and off Capitol Hill that FDA’s regulatory regime for premium cigars has been deeply flawed since it was introduced four years ago…Congress never intended for the premium industry to endure the regulatory burdens imposed by the FDA. Today’s vote reinforces that.” 

Craig Williamson, CAA President added:

“after working on two separate amendments for the past four years the groups realized that we are stronger working together to accomplish the same goal – the protection of the entire cigar industry.”

Lastly, CRA executive director Glynn Loope concluded:

“This amendment once again sends a clear message that the regulations advanced by the FDA go well beyond the congressional intent of the Tobacco Control Act. We extend our appreciation to our legislative co-sponsors that have served as champions for this language, as well as proponents of regulatory reform as it applies to cigars with the President’s Administration.”

Of course the battle is still in front of the industry as we still need to press our Congressmen and Senators to keep the wording in the amendment and preserve the small business owners in the premium cigar industry.

A search through the Congressional website does not identify the actual working of the amendment as of yet. It simply states:

Rep. Cole/Rep. Bishop – The amendment adds bill language to modernize the February 2007 predicate date for certain tobacco products. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 29-20.

Stay tuned for information and news on this evolving news.

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