You saw it come out earlier today. It’s another cigar rights petition to rally the troops against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) assault on the cigar industry.. And like many cigar enthusiasts, you probably are “petitioned out”. However, I think its important to understand why this petition was put out there and the most effective way in spreading the word.

Whether we like it or not; for all practical purposes, we required a new petition. The 115th Congress is in session.  Bill HR 564 proposes an exemption premium cigars from regulation by the FDA. It’s basically an re-introduction of previous legislation from previous sessions of Congress. There are many people in Congress who do not know much about what the cigar industry is facing around FDA regulation. There are also many members of Congress who most likely need a refresher. That’s what this petition is going to do. It’s going to call the attention the members of Congress to take a closer look at HR 564 and get on board. Basically, just because you signed a petition doesn’t cut it. You need to sign this petition again.

Typically when these petitions are introduced they hit social media in large waves.  I still highly encourage spreading the word online, but in this author’s opinion it’s really not enough.

I’ve mentioned in the past for any cigar-released petition to really take form, it requires more of a grass roots – person to person effort. In other words if you signed it, have you told a friend?  Have you told two or more friends?  Remember Facebook and Twitter represent a very small fraction of the cigar population (and remember, this is a small industry). I also challenge manufacturers, brand owners, and retailers to do the same thing. Make this a requirement to your sales teams whether in the field or at the retail level.

Even though previous iterations of what is proposed in HR 564 have not advanced, they have been effective at still gaining support on the ground in Washington.

It is also not inconceivable that the Trump Administration might see some of the numbers supporting this. In fact, I would say it’s more likely than getting help from Rudy Giuliani.

The bottom line: those cigar enthusiasts hoping for the long shot for the FDA regulations to be repealed forever, this is a necessary step. You can’t repeal a law without introducing legislation to do so. This is the legislation.

Most importantly, don’t ignore the petition. It’s not the first, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Click here to sign.