A bill has been introduced to the United States House of Representatives to change the date that premium hand-made cigars are subject to the proposed regulations by the FDA. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) has introduced legislation that would change the proposed date from February 15, 2007 until 21 months after any such proposed regulations go into effect.

In the Deeming Document of proposed FDA regulations, February 15, 2007 represents the date for which tobacco products that were commercially marketed in the United States would be subject to regulation. The bill is not considered a total surprise. The FDA has been on the record saying it would take an act of Congress to change the 2007 effective date.  Back in November, three members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to the FDA asking for a change in the effective date.

Moving the effective day into the future would create a grandfather date by which existing products in the cigar market would be exempt.  The proposed 2007 date could potentially force cigar manufacturers who have released cigars since the February date to officially submit them to the FDA for approval. While there is a proposed Option 2 that establishes the definition of a premium cigar and would exempt those products meeting that definition, there is no guarantee Option 2 will be selected.

In addition to Cole, the bill currently has eight co-sponsors: Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC); Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY); Rep. Thomas Rooney (R-FL); Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA); Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV); Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD); Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC); and Renee  Ellmers (R-NC).