Dec 26, 2011
LAWMAKERS Want FDA To Ban Flavored Cigars
MDC says, “Knock it off, leave flavored tobacco alone.”
Strawberry, watermellon, vanilla and chocolate. We’re not talking ice cream or sorbet.
These are cigar flavorings. And U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and four of his Democratic colleagues want the Food and Drug Administration to ban them. They say flavored cigars “attract kids to smoking and help hook them on this addictive product.”
The senators — Brown, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on Thursday. They noted that Congress in 2009 gave the federal agency authority to regulate tobacco products and their flavorings.
But the FDA has not used that authority on cigars.
The Department of Health and Human Services indicated in July that it would issue such a regulation in October, according to the senators. But no regulation followed.
Since the October deadline, “an estimated 2 billion cigars, cigarellos, and little cigars have been sold without appropriate regulation,” the senators’ letter said.
Look for the cigar industry to fight back. The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association is already lobbying for a bill that would exempt “traditional large and premium cigars” from FDA regulation. The bill has 134 House cosponsors, including Ohio Republicans Steve Chabot of Cincinnati, Bob Gibbs of Holmes County, Bill Johnson of Marietta — and Democrat Tim Ryan of Niles.