Cigar Industry Scores Another Victory

The premium cigar industry can chalk up another victory in their ongoing battle to win exemption from the US FDA’s deeming regulations on tobacco. Yesterday, D.C. District Court Judge Amit Mehta issued an injunction prohibiting the U.S. Food & Drug Administration from enforcing its warning label requirements on cigars and pipe tobacco. The injunction order delays any enforcement of the requirement until a minimum of 60 days after the conclusion of an appeal, currently underway, but does not does have a date set.

In his order issued today, Judge Mehta recognized the substantial and complex issues about retailers’ constitutional rights, and that the FDA was not justified to require warnings before those issues are fully resolved, in his remarks, Judge Mehta stated:

“In the end, this court believes that Plaintiffs are entitled to a full hearing before an appellate court with the specter of a warnings regime going into effect.”

Scott Pearce, IPCPR Executive Director stated after the injunction order:

“This deadline has been bearing down on our members for some time now.  And while this is a temporary reprieve, it is a welcome development and hopefully a sign that our message is resonating. IPCPR is proud to be a party to this lawsuit, and we’ll continue to work with our great legal team and staff in DC to bring about the optimum regulatory framework for the premium cigar industry.”

In a letter to its members, the Cigar Rights of America (CRA) Glynn Loope stated:

This moment speaks to the virtue of our three front war. As I consistently state, this is about both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and a court-house in between. This is only one piece of the puzzle. While this brush fire is momentarily extinguished, possibly for several years, the premium cigar industry still must attack the remaining and potentially more threatening FDA bureaucratic agenda. Substantial equivalence, pre-market approval of new blends, onerous and expensive applications and reporting requirements, barriers of entry for new companies and products – whether now or after 2020 – all need to be addressed, to insure the future of the premium handmade cigar industry.
Drew Newman, General Counsel of J.C. Newman Cigar Co, stated in a letter, published on the Cigar Authority website:
It is an incredible relief for Judge Mehta to give us a reprieve from this enormous and costly regulatory burden. America’s historic premium cigar industry has been struggling with how to absorb the high costs of redesigning the innumerable variety of cigar boxes sold in America.
The CRA, IPCPR, and CAA will continue the fight on behalf of all cigar smokers, shops, and brand owners.
You can get involved by supporting the CRA Legal Defense fund here.
You can also stay informed through the IPCPR legislative center here.
Continue to call and write your state and local representatives and keep the pressure on.