Congressman Proposes Rolling Back Cigar Power Grab

Published February 11, 2017

A Florida congressman is proposing a bill to roll back a 2016 power grab by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, revoking the agency’s authority to restrict cigar sales.  

In January, U.S. Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) introduced House Resolution 564, the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2017.  

If approved by lawmakers and signed into law by President Donald Trump, HR 564 would amend federal laws authorizing the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulatory authority, prohibiting FDA from issuing “regulations on any matter that involves traditional large and premium cigars.”

In August 2016, FDA announced it would use authority granted by the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, a bill intended to restrict cigarette sales, to expand its regulatory power to include products such as e-cigarettes and cigars.

Raised Prices on Consumers

Lindsey Stroud, a government relations coordinator with The Heartland Institute, which publishes Budget & Tax News, says FDA used its rulemaking power to increase tobacco companies’ costs and raise tobacco prices.

“The Tobacco Control Act of 2009 got pushed through under the guise of further preventing youth and children from using tobacco,” Stroud said. “In all reality, it was just an excuse for the FDA to make money off tobacco, by implementing what they call a ‘user fee’ on tobacco companies, translating into more costs being imposed on the consumer.”

Protecting Consumer Choice

Posey spokesman George Cecala says the new bill is intended to protect small business owners from being driven out of business by government regulations.

“Premium cigars are legal products,” Cecala said. “Adults should be free to enjoy those products. We’re hoping that the Trump administration will take a look at these regulations and the impact this will have on the thousands of mom-and-pop businesses and good American jobs.”