One day after the Cigar Association of America (CAA) unveiled a portal to submit comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its planned flavored tobacco ban, the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) has also launched its own portal –

According to the PCA, “This action by the FDA is not justified based on economic or health reasons and the PCA and industry allies will be specifically questioning those merits along with calling for additional research. The broad nature of the “characterizing descriptor” language in the proposed rule is especially concerning as an assault on free speech and one that could affect cigars without any flavoring or additives. Join the PCA in contacting the FDA through this public comment portal to submit a pre-generated message.”

Much like the CAA portal, the PCA portal has a pre-populated template with comments, but other comments are encouraged. The comments were written from the point of view of the retailer:

As a retail small business owner and tobacconist, I write to raise concerns about the product standards on flavored cigars which is a de facto prohibition of these products. This rule as currently proposed is concerning for a variety of reasons including but not limited to: negative impact on small business retailers, unjustified action based on current public health data, and lack of clarity on what constitutes a “characterizing descriptor.”

Furthermore, this proposed rule fails to consider: the economic impact on minority owned small businesses, lack of youth access or purchasing of cigars, the impact on cigar producing nations as it relates to international commerce, and free speech challenges based on an arbitrary “characterizing descriptor” interpretation that restricts the industry and media from describing products accurately.

We urge the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw this proposed rule for these reasons set forth. The rule unnecessarily harms my business, employees, and the economic activity in our community. In the event that the FDA, proceeds with this harmful rule we strongly urge a lengthy product sell-off period for flavored products to mitigate the detrimental nature of this rule.

Under the rule making process, the FDA is required to have a period where comments can be submitted on its proposed rules. The FDA is accepting comments on the product standard until July 5th, 2022. The PCA says specific questions on submitting comments should be directed to PCA Deputy Executive Director Joshua Habursky