In December 2017, a coalition of 29 Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), calling for Mulvaney and President Donald Trump to exempt premium cigars from the PMTA requirement and FDA oversight in general.
“FDA’s deeming of premium cigars would impose extremely high economic costs that would lead to serious unintended consequences for the premium cigar industry and the jobs and business it represents,” the letter read.
It’s hardly the first time Congress has lobbied for such an exemption: Since the passing of the FDA’s deeming rule, numerous bills have been introduced to protect premium cigars. In January 2017, Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) introduced HR 564, the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2017. And in June, a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee approved a version of the 2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that included a premium-cigar exemption from FDA jurisdiction.
Both proposals included language defining premium and large cigars as being 100% leaf-rolled vs. 100% tobacco filler, not containing a tip and weighing at least 6 pounds per 1,000 units.
Pictured here: Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget