We recently reported that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was introducing a new Senate bill to exempt premium cigars from the FDA Tobacco Regulations. As noted this bill was to be similar to the one he previously introduced with former Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. We have now learned more details on the current bill S-9.
Since last reporting, the bill now has been read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The bill also has some meat on its bones and provides details of what Senator Rubio and other sponsors deem a “premium cigar”.
According the bill, a premium cigar, for the purpose of exemption, is described as:
- Any roll of tobacco that is wrapped in 100-percent leaf tobacco, bunched with 100-percent tobacco filler, contains no filter, tip or non-tobacco mouthpiece, weighs at least 6 pounds per 1,000 count.
- Has a 100-percent leaf tobacco binder and is hand rolled.
- Has a 100-percent leaf tobacco binder and is made using human hands to lay the leaf tobacco wrapper or binder onto only one machine that bunches, wraps, and caps each individual cigar; or
- Has a homogenized tobacco leaf binder and is made in the United States using human hands to lay the 100-percent leaf tobacco wrapper onto only one machine that bunches, wraps, and caps each individual cigar.
- Does not include a cigarette (as such term is defined by section 900(3)) or a little cigar (as such term is defined by section 900(11)).
The intent of the bill is described as:
“Amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction over certain tobacco products, and to protect jobs and small businesses involved in the sale, manufacturing and distribution of traditional and premium cigars. “
10 co-sponsors have signed onto to the bill including 7 Republicans and 3 Democrats:
- Sen. Gardner, Cory [R-CO]
- Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV]
- Sen. Cotton, Tom [R-AR]
- Sen. Menendez, Robert [D-NJ]
- Sen. Ernst, Joni [R-IA]
- Sen. Barrasso, John [R-WY]
- Sen. Casey, Robert P., Jr. [D-PA]
- Sen. Inhofe, James M. [R-OK]
- Sen. Kennedy, John [R-LA]
- Sen. Boozman, John [R-AR]
The bill is supported by both the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Association and the Cigar Rights of America (CRA). Just lat week, Scott Pearce, IPCPR Executive Director, stated :
“A decade ago, few folks on Capitol Hill could barely tell you the difference between a premium cigar versus any other tobacco product. Now, we have a tenth of the Senate showing their resolute support for the industry within the first week of a new Congress.”
If you wish to contact your representatives to voice your support for Senate Bill S-9 and help save American small businesses, you can use the resources of the CRA and IPCPR where they have set up online petitions which you can send to your U.S. Senators.
I strongly suggest you complete these petitions if you care about the state of the premium cigar industry and do not want to see the cost of your favorite brands increasing.