Analysis: FDA Flavored Cigar Ban Will Create Unregulated And Criminal Markets

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Cigar Association of America (CAA) today published a new analysis showing the significant negative impacts the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed ban on flavored cigars would have on public health and law enforcement activities.

Analysis: FDA Flavored Cigar Ban Will Create Unregulated And Criminal Markets

CAA President David M. Ozgo stated: “Making flavored cigars illegal will not eliminate the demand for flavored cigars; it will only criminalize their sale and create illicit markets. The nation has seen this with marijuana and our failed experiment in alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s.”


House Appropriations Subcommittee Votes to Block FDA Funding for Flavor Cigar Ban

Last week, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved language in FDA’s FY 2024 appropriation that would effectively block the agency from enforcing the proposed ban, Ozgo said. “We applaud the appropriators for recognizing how damaging FDA’s proposed ban on flavored cigars would be.”

The existing regulatory system for flavored cigars was designed to ensure that legal tobacco products are manufactured to meet established standards, undergo quality control measures, and prevent inclusion of unregulated ingredients that could pose health hazards to consumers.

Criminals, however, do not care about regulatory standards or quality control, Ozgo noted. The analysis shows how illicit tobacco products sold through criminal enterprises often contain dangerous contaminants such as asbestos and rat droppings.

Further, FDA claims it will only enforce the flavored cigar ban against manufacturers and retailers, not against individuals. However, the report notes that nearly all states have cigar excise taxes, and all 50 states have laws that treat unlicensed tobacco sales as a serious crime.

Law Enforcement, Civil Rights Groups Oppose FDA Flavored Cigar Ban

In written comments submitted to FDA, many law enforcement groups opposed the ban, including the National Association of Police Organizations, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation, National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition, National Troopers Coalition, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

The groups pointed out they don’t enforce FDA law, but they do enforce state laws requiring that excise taxes be paid on cigars. Shifting resources to police a new crime – sale of untaxed flavored cigars – will mean reduced efforts to combat other criminal activity.

The analysis also raised concerns that law enforcement efforts would fall disproportionately on minority populations. The National Black Chamber of Commerce stated in its FDA comments: “…enforcement of local laws against these transactions (flavored cigars) will certainly bring African Americans, already the subject of over policing, into further confrontations with law enforcement personnel.”

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) also opposed the ban in its public comments, noting that the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of police involved tobacco enforcement. Michael Brown’s initial infraction was related to cigars and Garner’s to the sale of untaxed tobacco.

Contact: Frank Coleman, [email protected], 202-223-8204

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SOURCE Cigar Association of America

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