Cigars expected to be targeted by FDA regulation

The Food and Drug Administration is ready to regulate cigars

Almost four years after it started regulating cigarettes, the Food and Drug Administration is ready to expand its goal to a broader range of tobacco products.

Cigar as a major product to be regulated by FDA

On top of that list: cigars, which have observed a growth lately even as cigarette sales have dropped, partly due to growing popularity among teenagers.

Cuban Cigar Smoking

Woman smoking a Cuban cigar

Anti-tobacco advocates and industry specialists widely assume the agency to call for modifications in the marketing and production of cigars.

On one end of the spectrum are the hand-rolled Cohibas and Arturo Fuentes that keep the humidors of high-end cigar stores and are preferred by aficionados who don’t blink at spending a high price. On the other are the convenience-shop brands that attract mainly young smokers, such as 59-cent blueberry Swisher Sweets, peach-flavored White Owl Cigarillos, Phillies Blunts Sour Apple and menthol Cheyenne “little cigars” that are hardly distinguishable from cigarettes.

Public health experts and some anti-tobacco lawmakers are demanding the FDA to regulate all cigars, but they mainly keep worrying about the low-cost, flavored types that have proliferated recently. Such cigars “are promoted strongly and have led to high school kids and young adults being twice as likely as their older counterparts to be cigar smokers,” the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said in a recent report.

At the same time, manufacturers of “premium cigars” have been lobbying strongly in order to prevent being lumped in with the candy- and fruit-flavored, corner-store types. A bill on Capitol Hill, co-sponsored by a large number of lawmakers, would keep cautiously identified “traditional large and premium” cigars out of the FDA’s reach, even though its chances remain doubtful.

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