On June 7, 2016, seven United States Senators - Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Robert Melendez (D-NJ), Senator Joe Manchin (D-MT), and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) - sent a letter to the Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Robert Califf, MD, to express their concerns with the final rule that subjected premium cigars to regulation. These senators and thirteen of their colleagues are sponsors of Senate Bill S. 441 (Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2015) which calls for an exemption from regulation for premium and large cigars. This Bill was introduced in Senate on February 10, 2015 in efforts to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to clarify the FDA'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.
In the body of the letter, the seven Senators not only expressed their dismay with FDA's decision, but they also posed questions as to how the FDA will manage and implement the provisions being subjected on the premium cigar industry. Their questions, which have yet to have been answered, yet alone responded to, may help build the case that the FDA is unprepared and ill advised to pursue regulations on premium and large cigars.
Click here to read the letter from the Senators in its entirety.