The American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC), along with 39 other organizations, including the American Medical Association and American Lung Association, has sent a letter to Congress asking it to stop legislation that would exempt many types of cigars from regulation under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
Sponsored by Representative Bill Posey, R-Fla, H.R. 1639, would exempt many types of cigars from regulation under the Act, including flavored cigars and cigarillos, which largely appeal to younger smokers. The legislation is aimed at protecting jobs and small businesses involved in the sale, manufacturing, and distribution of traditional and premium cigars.
Under the Act, the FDA was given authority over all tobacco, but the law immediately applied only to cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and components of roll-your-own cigarettes. The FDA has indicated that it will soon propose a rule bringing cigars also under its authority, however it has not indicated which specific provisions or regulations will apply to cigars.
According to the letter, H.R. 1639 “would prohibit FDA from promulgating any regulations involving certain types of cigars regardless of how significant the benefit to public health or how minimal the cost to cigar manufacturers.”
The AARC and the other organizations signed to the letter are particularly concerned about the wide range of products that would be exempted from regulation under the bill, including Swisher Sweets Sweet Chocolate Blunts, Phillies Sugarillos Cigarillos, and Optimo peach Blunts—flavored products that are popular with youth.