Online retailer Famous Smoke Shop has launched a new portal entirely dedicated to restrictive government overreach on premium cigars. The new site—Cigar Smoker’s Rights Hub—compiles all things related to the FDA’s 2016 ruling that premium cigars would be regulated to the same degree as cheap, mass-market cigars, e-cigarettes, and more. While the FDA was granted this power in 2009, when President Barack Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, actions had not been taken until 2016, when the FDA unveiled that premium cigars would not be exempt from their new set of strict regulations.
For many smokers, the multiple dates, regulations, appeals, lawsuits, etc., can become a bit overwhelming; and for this reason, the new Cigar Smoker’s Rights Hub provides a clean and straightforward method to educate cigar enthusiasts. The site offers short and easily digestible bits of information, including a timeline that reveals the slow and methodical approach taken by the government—dating back to 1965—to chip away at smoker’s rights; concluding with the extreme conditions of the current premium cigar market.
The site also details other helpful topics such as: the FDA lawsuit, consumer impact, tobacco differences, latest news, and more.
Famous Smoke Shop, the leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars, has debuted their new interactive Cigar Smokers’ Rights Hub. Crafted in response to the US Food & Drug Administration’s 2016 Final Deeming Rule regarding premium cigars and other tobacco products, the Famous Smoke guide presents cigar enthusiasts with a history of legal actions affecting the tobacco industry. The Smokers’ Rights Hub also offers cigar smokers a detailed understanding of how FDA’s new regulations will negatively impact the premium cigar industry, and the legal challenges that have been mounted against the agency’s sweeping new rules.
“The rights of adult cigar enthusiasts to purchase and enjoy a completely legal product are quickly going up in flames.” Arthur Zaretsky is the president and owner of Famous Smoke Shop, who has launched a Cigar Smokers’ Rights Hub — a website devoted to educating consumers about the Food & Drug Administration’s Final Deeming Rule concerning premium cigars. FDA released 499 pages of new and strict cigar regulations in August of 2016, filled with measures, rulings, definitions and fees that “completely overstepped the authority FDA was given by Congress to regulate tobacco,” says Zaretsky. His company’s goal is to inform customers — and cigar enthusiasts at large — about how these rules are shortchanging consumers, unfair to business and in violation of US law. “The agency is going at this regulation, and the costs associated with compliance, blindly. FDA has failed to perform an adequate, legitimate cost-benefit analysis of the Final Rule’s economic impact on small businesses, as is required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act,” says Zaretsky, who adds, “the FDA is defying the law.”
The Smokers’ Rights Hub notes significant factors that distinguish cigars from cigarettes. Their contents, and how their made, are vastly different, says Cigar Advisor Managing Editor John Pullo: “premium cigars are made entirely by hand, with whole tobacco leaf. Cigarettes are vastly different — they’re made on high speed machines, in bulk, using chopped tobaccos and additives. Cigars and cigarettes are very different, and shouldn’t be treated the same way.” In spite of those differences, FDA is now regulating premium cigars in the same way as cigarettes — and has put into place significant restrictions on the blending of new cigars, levying of fees on cigar makers to have their products chemically tested and kept on the market for sale, as well as reclassifying retailers as “manufacturers” for selling cigar samplers and house pipe blends. These vast new changes have prompted the premium cigar industry to sue the FDA on Constitutional grounds.
The history of modern governmental regulation over tobacco stretches 50 years, according to the Cigar Smokers’ Rights timeline. “All the while, the federal government has slowly — and quite frankly, unfairly — been chipping away at cigar smokers’ rights,” says Zaretsky. Because these new regulations are such a broad overreach of the regulatory authority granted to FDA by Congress in 2009, three industry groups have filed suit against the agency to have the Deeming Rule rescinded. Mark Pursell, CEO of the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association, noted in a statement: “After a thorough and detailed legal review, we are challenging this unlawful regulatory action in federal court to protect the statutory and constitutional rights of our industry and its members.” Cigar Association of America President Craig Williamson added, “We hoped the FDA would craft a flexible regulatory structure that accounted for the uniqueness of our industry. Instead, we got a broad, one-size-fits-all rule that fails to account for how cigars and premium cigars are manufactured, distributed, sold and consumed in the United States. The FDA exceeded its statutory authority and violated the federal rulemaking process when crafting this set of broad and sweeping regulations.”
The details of this suit, along with regular updates on additional filings and motions, are currently posted at the Famous Smoke Shop Cigar Rights site, so that consumers can follow the industry’s fighting against FDA’s massive regulatory changes.
The new Famous Smoke Shop Cigar Smokers’ Rights Hub details many of the changes the FDA has made regarding their tobacco enforcement measures, including how premium cigars will become more expensive, due to the added costs of FDA approval fees being passed to retailers and consumers. The Hub also lays out how the selection of cigars currently available for sale will likely become smaller, as the new FDA rules will force some existing brands off the market — while limiting the influx of new cigars on store shelves: “that rich tradition of Innovation by cigar makers will be stifled,” says Cigar Advisor’s John Pullo. This, he says, is why cigar lovers can educate themselves with the helpful service that Famous provides. “We as cigar enthusiasts need to empower ourselves with information about the regulation of our hobby, and about the steps being taken by the FDA to unfairly limit our choices at the cigar shop and online. A resource like the Rights Hub is critical to becoming a well-informed consumer.”