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Legislation

Florida Representatives Urge President to Drop Cigar Industry Regulations

Jun 8, 2020 | By Andrew Nagy
Florida Representatives Urge President to Drop Cigar Industry Regulations

In response to the economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, a dozen representatives from Florida have signed and sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging his administration to eliminate “onerous, job-killing regulations” that threaten the livelihood of small retail cigar shops and cigar manufacturers.

The letter, which was signed by nearly all of Florida’s Republicans who are members of the U.S. House of Representatives, argues that the burdensome regulations should be examined through the lens of the Trump administration’s Executive Order 13924. Announced by President Trump on May 19, the order addressed a range of concerns while calling for agencies to re-examine their regulations in hopes to boost an economy that’s been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Agencies should address this economic emergency by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery, consistent with applicable law and with protection of the public health and safety, with national and homeland security, and with budgetary priorities and operational feasibility,” the order states.

“When Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act in 2009, it sought to achieve two noble goals—eliminate consumption of tobacco products by underage youth and prevent the scientifically proven negative health effects of addiction to tobacco products,” wrote the Florida coalition in its letter. “Neither of these elements apply to the premium cigar industry as its products are exclusively marketed to adult consumers who enjoy them in moderation.”

The all-Republican letter was signed by: Bill Posey, Gus Bilirakis, Mario Diaz-Balart, Neal P. Dunn, M.D., Matt Gaetz, Brian Mast, Francis Rooney, John Rutherford, Ross Spano, Gregory Steube, Michael Waltz and Ted S. Yoho, D.V.M.

While the Florida coalition’s letter doesn’t specify any particular cigar industry rules, small cigar manufacturers and retail shop owners have been forced to deal with a slew of burdensome and costly regulations imposed by the FDA, including warning plans, user fees and heavy marketing restrictions.

“We appreciate Rep. Posey assembling this coalition of a dozen Florida members in the House of Representatives that have strong lines of communication to the President and Administration,” said Glynn Loope, executive director of the Cigar Rights of America. “Especially at this critical juncture in the state of the national economy, the premium cigar sector is especially vulnerable due to a supply chain that spans from Latin America to the ports of Florida to retailers throughout the nation.”

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