A new bill in the United States Senate has been introduced to combat the threat of FDA legislation in the premium cigar indusry.   Senate Bill 772 (S.772) was introduced this week and will replace S.1461.  The reasoning for this is similar to why H.R. 792 replaced H.R. 1639 – namely because there is a new session of Congress, thus a new bill was needed. 

Like the original S.1461 was the Senate companion legislation to the House legislation H.R. 1639, the new S.772 will server as the companion legislation to H.R. 792.

The bill was once again introduced by Florida Senators Bill Nelson (Democrat) and Marco Rubio (Republican).   It is also being reported that several U.S. Senators have already lined up as co-sponsors.  This includes: Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana); Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana); Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), and Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana) bringing the total number of co-sponsors to 6. The bill has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

At the time S.1461 was closed out, there were 13 co-sponsors.

The goal of S.772 is the same as S.1461. It defines what a premium cigar is and seeks to exempt it from FDA regulation.  If FDA regulation were to pass, there
could be measures taken such as:

These impacts could include:

  • No more walk in humidors – just like in Canada
  • Limits on advertising and promotions
  • Banning the very word cigar or tobacco 
  • Manufacturers
    having to submit blends to FDA for “testing,” before heading to your
    local shop (imagine the impact on boutique cigar makers)
  • Adverse impact on flavored tobacco products
  • And price impact due to new fees on manufacturers.