When the Food and Drug Administration announced on May 5 that it would begin regulating the premium cigar industry, the organization outlined an extensive list of new requirements that included everything from bigger warning labels to the banning of free samples. Most notable, however, was the FDA’s mandate requiring cigar manufacturers to test the ingredients in their products, especially for something the FDA refers to as “harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHC).” According to the new law, the tobacco in each cigar will be subject to laboratory analysis and evaluation, as will the chemical constituents of its smoke.
Compliancy for this mandate only applies to cigars released after the predicate date of February 15, 2007. Cigars on the market before this date will be grandfathered in, and not subject to the same testing and reporting requirements of newer products.
The FDA’s jurisdiction over the premium cigar industry goes into effect this summer, but cigar manufacturers whose products are subject to testing will be given a three-year grace period to streamline and normalize their compliance requirements. This means that although the FDA’s jurisdiction goes into effect on August 8, the FDA will not enforce the reporting requirements for newly deemed products before the end of the three-year period, giving companies a chance to fully understand, adjust to and comply with the new guidelines. The FDA will be issuing guidance to cigar companies over the next three years.