The cigar industry is not backing off the fight against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s warning labels. This past Friday, the three trade associations (Cigar Association of America, Cigar Rights of America, and the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers) have asked the court for an injunction against the enforcement of the FDA’s warning label requirements or postponing of the August 10, 2018 effective date for 60 days pending an appeal to Judge Amit Mehta’s ruling last month against the cigar industry in regards to warning labels.
The basis of the appeal stems upon the fact that the FDA is currently re-evaluating the regulatory rulemaking process for premium cigars, but will be implementing warning labels on August 10, 2018 – something on which the cigar industry is spending substantial money to comply with. It points out that in last month’s ruling, the Court acknowledged how it “grossly unfair exercise of agency authority” and “smacks of basic unfairness” to implement such regulations as the Warning Labels. It points out “arbitrary enforcement” regulations – for example: while other regulations were postponed three years (i.e. substantial equivalence), warning labels were not.
The industry points out that Section 705 of the Administrative Procedure Act gives the Court the authority to postpone the effective date of a rule pending judicial proceedings.
Meanwhile, oral arguments are scheduled to begin in the Eastern District Court of Texas on June 26 as Texas cigar industry personnel are also mounting a legal challenge to the FDA’s Warning Label Requirements. A recent motion by the FDA to move the court case from Texas to the District of Columbia and combine it with the lawsuit filed by the three trade associations was recently denied, but the FDA is appealing that decision.