14 Nov Congressman Posey Sends Letter to HHS on Premium Cigars
Earlier this week Congressman Bill Posey (FL-15) sent a letter to Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), regarding premium cigar regulations. In the letter, Congressman Posey raises his concern over the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent decision to reclassify a prospective rulemaking on premium cigars into “long term status.” For regulatory agencies, deeming an issue into “long term status” typically means it is a low priority and will not see any action for at least 12 months, if not longer. The Congressman presses HHS to expedite a rulemaking on premium cigars and to stand up for the countless small businesses that will be needlessly harmed by FDA’s inaction.
IPCPR applauds Congressman Posey for continuing to lead on this issue of tremendous importance to the State of Florida and one that affects tens of thousands of small business jobs across the country. Congressman Posey also serves as the lead sponsor of H.R. 564, a bill designed to define and exempt premium cigars from federal regulations.
The Posey letter also calls into question the FDA’s decision to shift its premium cigar rulemaking from “major” to “non-major” status. This indicates the FDA no longer considers a rule on premium cigars as having a $100 million or greater economic impact. As reflected in the Posey letter, this decision is not only concerning, but also a baffling move by the FDA and one that outright ignores the real world economic impact of this ill-conceived and poorly implemented regulatory framework.
IPCPR recently submitted comments to the FDA regarding their regulatory review of premium cigars. In those comments, IPCPR laid out definitive government sourced data on the usage patterns and limited public health impact of premium products. In his letter, Congressman Posey presses HHS and FDA on those comments, calling into question the FDA’s decision to delay action. “Despite this evidence, the Department has now apparently decided to wait an indeterminate period of time before taking deregulatory action to relive this burden. This decision is one which will cause continued economic harm and loss of jobs in this small industry.”
IPCPR will continue to work with Congressman Posey and the rest of Congress and the Trump Administration to pursue a quick resolution to the ongoing burdens of premium cigar and pipe tobacco regulations.
In the meantime, retailers and enthusiasts can press this issue with their representatives in Congress by going to CigarAction.org to send a letter, engage them on social media and then sign up for IPCPR action alerts.
For any questions – please contact Daniel Trope, Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs at Daniel@ipcpr.org.