Yesterday, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee, along with Congresswoman Donna Shalala (D-FL), introduced a comprehensive tobacco bill. The bill, “To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the sale and marketing of tobacco products, and for other purposes” (H.R. 2339), will be called the ‘‘Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019”. While premium cigars have not contributed to this epidemic, they would still be significantly impacted by this legislation. The bill would amend the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, originally designed to curb youth access to cigarettes. This new legislation would extend the current regulations on cigarettes to all other deemed products, including cigars. It also introduces several new restrictions on tobacco sales.
How “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019” would impact premium cigars:
- Ban Online Sale of All Deemed Tobacco Products – Online sales of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products were banned in 2010, but this bill would extend that rule to ALL deemed products, which currently includes premium cigars.
- Increase User Fees – The FDA would have explicit authority to collect fees from all deemed products in addition to cigarettes and the total amount of fees collected by the agency would increase by $100 million.
- Raise Minimum Tobacco Purchase Age to 21 – The minimum age to purchase tobacco would be 21 nationwide. There is no provision prohibiting states or localities from raising the minimum age above 21.
- Advertising & Sales Restrictions – All cigarette advertising and sales restrictions would also apply to premium cigars. This means advertising any tobacco brand on non-tobacco merchandise (such as t-shirts or other apparel) is prohibited; event sponsorship (music, sports, etc.) by a tobacco brand or manufacturer is prohibited; and free gifts (even non-tobacco) in exchange for consideration of purchasing a tobacco product is prohibited.
- Ban Flavored Tobacco Products – Characterizing flavors of all tobacco products would be prohibited under this Act.
IPCPR [PCA] opposes this legislation. We will continue to engage with lawmakers to seek fair treatment of premium cigars by the FDA. Premium cigars are a 100% natural, artisan product and should not be regulated the same as cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems. We are continuing to gain support and co-sponsors for our exemption bills in both the Senate (S.9) and the House (H.R. 1854). Read the section-by-section breakdown by the House Committee on Energy & Commerce below.
* This week, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced his intentions to introduce a Senate bill raising the minimum tobacco purchase age to 21. Updates to come.
For questions regarding HR 2339 or other legislative concerns, contact Tori Ellington at firstname.lastname@example.org.