Well it happened. The unthinkable. The Food and Drug Administration did NOT exclude premium cigars in its May 5th decision to regulate all tobacco products. And with that decision, premium cigars (especially of the boutique and limited edition varieties) are in serious jeopardy. The cost and time it will take to get FDA approval on new blends will all but end these new and small batch cigar releases. The way things stand now, in a few years the only cigars you will be able to buy will be those that were on the market prior to 2007 – as well as the occasional new release from cigar manufacturing giants that can withstand the time and cost to test the market with a new product (that is, if the FDA grants them the privilege).
Now is the time to fight. Now is the time to get up off your ass and let your voice be heard. The FDA regulations begin to take effect August 8th, 2016. Think about that for a second. August 8th!! Mid-summer and the cigar industry changes forever.
So what can you do to help fight the good fight? We have come up with several things that cigar smokers can do to help save our hobby.
1. Spread the word. The most amazing realization for many in the industry has been the general lack of knowledge of how this regulation will impact premium cigars. It shouldn’t be that way. After all, we have been warning this day would come for years. But now that it’s here, it seems the vast majority simply have no clue what is about to happen to the very hobby/lifestyle they enjoy. So spread the word, preach it on every mountain top and cigar lounge in your area. To get a better grip on this issue, check out our recent interview with Glynn Loope, the Executive Director of the Cigar Rights of America.
2. Talk to your government representatives. Bring a group of folks to the offices of your local state and federal representatives and kindly ask them to consider being on our side of this ruling. Elected officials desire to stay elected and we need to let them know (in a civilized manner) that we are cigar smokers and we vote… Get the picture?
3. Sign official petitions. There are some official petitions floating around and we need to show our power by getting as many cigar smokers as possible to sign. Here are the ones you should act on immediately:
- Do Not Enact FDA’s “Option 1” Final Rule on Premium Handmade Cigars
- Help Exempt Premium Cigars From FDA Regulation! H.R. 662 / S. 441
4. Join Cigar Rights of America. The CRA is our lobbying arm in Washington and you can join here. If you are a shop owner or cigar media member, make sure you are a part of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. You can also help fund the CRA’s lobbying efforts in Washington when buying one of these hilarious Anti-FDA shirts, where all proceeds go to the Cigar Rights of America.
5. March on Washington. Our friends at Save the Leaf have organized a HERF in Washington DC on August 8th (the day the regulations begin to go into effect). Join thousands of cigar smokers as they descend on Washington, hoping to make our voices heard.
The time is now. We no longer have the luxury of procrastination. Will the cigar industry end forever if we fail? Of course not! But it will also never be the same, and many of the innovative blends and creative cigar companies will be lost. Furthermore, like most government regulation, this is just the beginning. It’s clear the FDA’s ultimate goal is to eliminate cigars all-together. So let’s put on a unified front. Let’s put up a fight. Let’s not toss away our freedom without standing up for the lifestyle and hobby we love.