At a June 20th, 2017 Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss the 2018 Fiscal Year Budget for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Senator Marco Rubio brought up the Deeming Rule and the current impacts on the premium cigar market. Senator Rubio asked FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb if there were any plans to re-evaluate the inclusion of premium hand made cigars in this rule.
In response to Senator Rubio, Dr. Gottlieb replied:
“We are currently looking at aspects of the rule. As you know there was a three-month delay in implementation of certain compliance dates announced before I arrived at FDA and we are coming up at the end of that delay. Whatever we do in this regard is going to need to be science-based of course. We’re cognizant of the challenges faced by small businesses. I also understand there are a number of legislative measures to exempt premium cigars. If Congress were to act, we would be happy to work with legislators to mitigate any unintended consequences of these measures. I don’t want to comment too specifically given that there is pending litigation right now around this issue, other than to say that I understand the concerns. You (Rubio) and I have had the opportunity to talk about them on a few occasions now. and I do understand the concerns of the small businesses that make premium cigars”
The discussion between Rubio and Dr. Gottlieb is in the video below:
Rubio also pointed out that premium cigars are not marketed to children, and that there is a difference when it comes to premium cigars.
Video Credit: C-Span