The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (“NASEM”) Committee on Patterns of Use and Health Effects of “Premium Cigars” and Priority Research released their highly anticipated report examining premium cigars. Following the release of, Premium Cigars: Patterns of Use, Marketing, and Health Effects, the Cigar Rights of America (CRA) issued a statement in regards to the findings.

Cigar Rights of America (“CRA”) wishes to thank NASEM for the completion of their year-long endeavor that resulted in their published report. CRA participated with NASEM from the start by testifying before their panel committee and submitting comments that embody years of research representing a professional, exhaustive review of the scientific literature.

We are encouraged by a number of findings regarding consumption patterns, frequency of use, inhalation patterns, and distinctions with other tobacco categories that compliment our historic arguments in service of exempting premium hand rolled cigars from FDA deeming regulations. NASEM reflects this understanding in their finding that concludes, “premium cigars are different than other tobacco products based on usage patterns.”

Moreover, we agree with the premium cigar definition memorialized by this report. It remains consistent with qualities we affirm best represent the nature of a premium cigar. We are further pleased by the removal of an economic quantifier that had no precedent at FDA, would have been difficult to enforce, didn’t allow for the complex relationship of retail prices and differing taxes at the national, state, and municipal level, and excluded the majority of the premium cigar market.

CRA continues to have serious concerns with the interpretation of the data and the conclusions drawn with regards to health effects. It remains the case that premium cigars continue to be conflated with other tobacco products. We strongly maintain that there is sufficient data and has been since 2014 to conclude that the mortality, morbidity, and youth usage and access experience of premium cigar patrons don’t warrant inclusion in the FDA deeming regulatory framework. The Population Assessment of Tobacco Health studies and Center for Disease Control youth risk surveys as well as the FDA’s acknowledgement that premium cigars were their lowest enforcement priority due to the lack of youth usage and access issues further underscores this point.

FDA’s proposed deeming of premium cigars has no discernable benefits at the population risk level, tremendous costs that threaten the existence of our industry, and serious unintended consequences for industry and manufacturing nations alike. CRA continues to assert that FDA should exempt premium cigars from their regulatory framework. At minimum, FDA should suspend any further regulations upon the industry.

One of the FDA’s key rationales for commissioning NASEM was to assess data that may be used in service of underlying the pre-market tobacco application regime. The request for 9 areas of further research and the time it takes for completion and analysis ought to coincide with FDA discontinuing any further applications of regulation upon premium cigars.

The CRA Board of Directors commented on this development, “CRA looks forward to continued discussions with Congress and the Administration in service of exempting premium cigars from FDA regulations. Today’s memorializing of a premium cigar definition was one move in the right direction.”

For our recap of the NASEM Report, see below:

Cigar News: NASEM Announces Report on Premium Cigars

The Full NASEM Report can be downloaded here.