The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “deeming” regulations could see a swathe of cigar brands put out of business and spark a blooming black market.
The FDA announced May 5 that cigars, along with vapor products and pipe tobacco, will be brought under the agency’s control, in line with the terms set out in the 2009 Tobacco Control Act.
Amounting to nearly 500 pages, the regulations put huge demands on the cigar industry to get their products approved. Any cigar put on the market since 2007 will have to prove it is “substantially equivalent” to products that have already been approved.
These applications can be ruinously expensive and take hundreds of hours of paperwork. Because many producers won’t be able to withstand this regulatory onslaught, a large chunk of cigars on the market today will be withdrawn. Cuban cigars, which were illegal in the US in 2007, will not be grandfathered in.