The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR), the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc. (NATO), and the CSP Daily News have all confirmed earlier today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved the proposed deeming rule on cigars and pipe tobacco into the next phase. The FDA's Center for Tobacco Products has submitted the final “deeming” regulations on cigars, pipe tobacco, e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco, and other tobacco products to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for economic review. Apparently, this submission is the eighth step in the federal government’s nine-step regulatory process to deem whether the tobacco products are under the FDA’s jurisdiction.
The OMB has a period of 90 days to review final federal agency regulations, but can extend the review time by another 30 days. According to the IPCPR, during this review period, the IPCPR will present fact-based evidence and data to the FDA. As it is unlikely that the OMB will share the details as they review the proposal, the IPCPR has stated that they are prepared to act immediately upon release of the final rule should the ruling not be favorable to premium cigars and pipe tobacco. Should the OMB approve the final regulations, then the ninth and final step would require publication of the final regulations in The Federal Register, 30 days after which the regulations will be effective.
As initially proposed in April 2014, the FDA regulations contains two options:
Option 1 would regulate all cigars, pipe tobacco, electronic cigarettes, nicotine gels, hookah tobacco and dissolvables, except accessories of a tobacco product
Option 2 would also regulate these tobacco products, but exempt premium cigars and tobacco product accessories (lighters, cigar cutters, humidors, cases, and hookah accessories) from regulation
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) of 2009 empowered the FDA to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to help all Americans, especially the youth, live longer and healthier lives. However, the IPCPR firmly "believes that premium cigars should be exempt from regulation as they do not have youth access issues and habitual use patterns" as per the scope of the Tobacco Control Act. Cigar Rights of America (CRA) and numerous cigar enthusiasts share this belief and have been continuously soliciting and seeking the support of elected officials to assist in the fight to protect premium cigars from FDA regulation.