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Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 17 August 2012

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Senator Frank Lautenberg Call for Ban on Flavored Cigars

In the wake of the 2011 National Youth Tobacco Survey recently released by the CDC, another politician has come forth to propose more regulation of tobacco products.

 

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While tobacco use has actually declined among high school students, cigar smoking has increased slightly, which does not sit well with U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.). The senator released this statement:

“Flavored cigars are designed to attract young adults, and the new CDC report indicates Big Tobacco is succeeding in its mission. The federal government must use its full authority over the tobacco industry and ban flavored cigars before the next generation of tobacco users are hooked. The increase in cigar use is troubling, and we must continue to do everything we can to keep our kids healthy and safe.”

Joining Sen. Lautenberg in calling for a ban on flavored cigars are fellow Senate members Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The senators want the FDA to use its authority to make new regulations on these tobacco products.


Smoke Shop Owner Speaks Out Against FDA Regulation of Cigars

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has so far refused to comment on whether it will be implementing new regulations on premium cigars, the organization has stated that it has plans to regulate more tobacco products besides cigarettes. Understandably, this has the sellers of cigars very nervous.

As Arthur Zaretsky, proprietor of The Famous Smoke Shop in Forks Township, PA, puts it, “the whole industry is quaking in its boots.” He has good reason to be concerned, since the rumored ban on sales of cigars by mail order or via the Internet could wipe out 99% of his business.

 

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Also dangerous to Zaretsky’s bottom line would be the possibility of having to sell premium cigars in a sterile manner similar to prescription drugs, rather than having customers explore his fragrant humidor.

Zaretsky and other vendors of pricey premium cigars are eager to set their product apart from the smaller, cheaper cigars sold at convenience stores. “From the outside,” he said, “the cigar industry looks like a united front—but it's not. Small, machine-made cigars are a totally different business. They sell 7 billion cigars a year. We sell 250 million. We’re one-tenth of one percent of the cigar business in the U.S.”

The organization Cigar Rights of America has backed a pair of bipartisan bills that would exempt premium cigars from FDA regulation, one in the Senate and another in the House of Representatives.

So how soon are cigar sellers likely to hear anything definite from the FDA about possible regulations? According to Zaretsky, “First they said it would be June, then July. Now, they say October. I doubt it will happen in October. They'll wait until after the election.” He added that a meeting between Cigar Rights of America and the FDA is scheduled for August 23.


Wife of GOP VP Candidate Once Lobbied for Cigars


Since Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was added to the 2012 GOP ticket, the media has been all over his past record in politics, but one member of his family has a history of her own. Before her 2000 marriage to the congressman, Janna Ryan was a very busy Washington lobbyist.

 

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Starting in 1998, Janna Ryan was part of a team of lobbyists working for the Cigar Association of America to make cigars exempt from the taxes and regulations applied to cigarettes. During the same period, Mrs. Ryan represented the cigar industry through the trade group National Association of Convenience Store Operators.

Now the mother of three children, Mrs. Ryan has no plans to return to her former gig as a cigar lobbyist.






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