Don't Exempt Cigars From FDA Regulation, AAFP Tells House

March 06, 2015 10:09 am News Staff

The AAFP recently signed on to a letter(3 page PDF) to U.S. representatives expressing strong opposition to a bill(www.congress.gov) (H.R. 662) that would exempt "traditional large and premium cigars" from FDA regulation under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA).(www.federalregister.gov)

[Senion man smoking a cigar]

The bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to exempt cigars from FDA oversight, including some machine-made cigars that cost as little as $1, and could also allow some flavored cigars to qualify for exemption.

"No tobacco product should be exempt from regulation -- and certainly not inexpensive and flavored cigars," said the Feb. 25 letter, which was crafted by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) and signed by about 30 health care and public health-related organizations. "Tobacco manufacturers have a history of modifying their products to avoid public health protections or attain lower tax rates.

"We are concerned that the number of cigars covered by H.R. 662 would increase over time as cigar manufacturers modify their products or change their manufacturing processes to qualify for the exemption."

The bill is awaiting review by the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health. A Senate companion bill(www.congress.gov) (S. 441) was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Story highlights
  • The AAFP recently signed on to a letter to U.S. representatives strongly opposing a bill intended to exempt "traditional large and premium cigars" from FDA regulation.
  • The letter pointed out that in 2009, Congress gave the FDA authority over "the manufacture, sale and marketing of all tobacco products, including cigars."
  • The letter is part of a continued effort by the AAFP to call for inclusion of all tobacco products under the FDA's proposed deeming rule.

Additional Letter Details

The letter pointed out that in 2009, Congress gave the FDA authority over "the manufacture, sale and marketing of all tobacco products, including cigars."

"The TCA, which was enacted with strong bipartisan support, explicitly defines tobacco products as 'any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption … ,'" the letter said. "Cigars clearly fall under this definition."

The letter also highlighted that cigar smoking is the second most common form of tobacco use among youth.

"According to national survey data, high-school boys now smoke cigars (i.e., large cigars, cigarillos and small cigars) at about the same rate as cigarettes (16.5 percent of high-school boys smoke cigars and 16.4 percent smoke cigarettes).

The letter added that each day, 2,400 people younger than age 18 try cigar-smoking for the first time.

The letter concluded, "Our organizations strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 662 and, instead, support the current science-based rule-making process the FDA is now conducting to determine appropriate oversight of cigars and other unregulated tobacco products."

Continued Support for Cigar Regulation

The letter opposing cigar exemption is part of a continued effort by the AAFP to call for inclusion of all tobacco products under the FDA's proposed deeming rule.

Last May, the AAFP signed on to a CTFK letter that asked leaders of the House Committee on Appropriations to oppose amendments to the FDA funding bill that would exempt cigars from the FDA's proposed tobacco deeming rule.

The following month, the Academy sent the FDA a letter(2 page PDF) supporting the proposed deeming rule.

Then in August, the Academy again signed on to a CTFK letter that supported the FDA proposed deeming rule and suggested regulatory oversight of all tobacco products, focusing on the inclusion of currently unregulated cigars and e-cigarettes.

The AAFP also sent its own letter(5 page PDF) to the FDA in August, listing Academy members who supported the tobacco deeming rule and offering them up to answer any questions FDA representatives had about the AAFP's support.

Related AAFP News Coverage
FDA Proposes to Extend Tobacco Authority to Include E-cigarettes, Other Unregulated Products
AAFP to Closely Scrutinize, Comment on Proposal

(4/25/2014)


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