Congress to Ease Cigar Rules?

Agricultural bill moves ahead with premium cigars pulled from FDA authority

WASHINGTON -- Cigars may get relief from federal oversight thanks to a far-reaching agricultural bill making its way through Congress.

A U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee on June 27 approved the latest version of the 2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill—a large, all-encompassing piece of legislation that includes language exempting premium cigars from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jurisdiction, according to a cigar-industry resource. The measure must pass the full House Appropriations Committee and then the full U.S. House of Representatives and Senate before making it to President Donald Trump’s desk.

The bill essentially prohibits government spending on FDA rules as they relate to traditional, large and premium cigars. The language defines which products qualify as large and premium, and includes qualities such as being 100% leaf-rolled vs. 100% tobacco filler. Such products are also defined as not being a cigarette or a “little cigar.”

Language in the bill also seeks to ease FDA rules governing electronic cigarettes and vaping products, according to Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, Hoboken, N.J. The bill is expected to reach the full House Appropriations Committee in mid-July, according to cigar-industry resource, Addison, Texas.

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