Florida AG Calls Proposed FDA Tobacco Regs 'Overbroad'

Bondi submits "deeming" letter; calls for agency to "more narrowly tailor" rules

Florida attorney general AG Pam Bondi FDA deeming (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Tobacco)

Pam Bondi

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi sent a letter to the federal government addressing concerns over proposed regulations trying to link electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products to rules meant for the cigarette industry, reported CBSMiami.

In the letter she said the federal government is being "overbroad" with the proposed regulations.

Bondi said she wants the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to consider the potential impact of the announced rule changes on Ybor City, Fla.-based manufacturer J.C. Newman Cigar, urging the federal agency to "more narrowly tailor these overbroad regulations."

"This 119-year-old premium cigar company with 130 employees is truly unique in this industry and should not be regulated in the same manner as the nation's largest cigarette companies," Bondi wrote.

Aug. 8 was the deadline for interested parties to submit public comments to the FDA on the proposed tobacco "deeming" regulations--"Deeming Tobacco Products to Be Subject to the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act; Regulations on the Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products and Required Warning Statements for Tobacco Products" ( FDA-2014-N-0189).

Bondi's letter was separate from a letter 29 other attorneys general signed the same day that called for the FDA to make the proposed regulations even stronger, particularly in regard to electronic cigarettes.

Bondi, in her letter, generally supports the enforcement of federal regulations on e-cigarettes, which would be similar to a Florida law approved in the 2014 legislative session.

The measure (SB 224) made it a second-degree misdemeanor as of July 1 to sell e-cigarettes and related products to minors.

U.S. senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have requested an exemption to the new rules for companies that don't mass-produce cigars, such as J. C. Newman, said the report. The FDA is already considering an exemption for premium cigars that are handmade. J.C. Newman uses vintage machines.

Florida Governor Rick Scott and Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera last month sent a similar request about the impact of the proposed regulations on Florida cigar companies, the report said.

Click here to view the full CBSMiami report.