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Republican Congressman Tom Cole & Democrat Congressman Sanford Bishop Introduce FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act

Cigar Association of America

Congressmen Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) filed the "FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017" this morning. This important piece of legislation clarifies the predicate date under FDA's Deeming regulations for newly regulated tobacco products, guaranteeing the fair treatment of newly deemed products, and includes important new safety standards to protect children.

"Congressmen Cole and Bishop continue to champion the cigar industry and cigar consumers in a bipartisan fashion," said Cigar Association of America President Craig Williamson. "This major legislation is important to our industry and we are grateful for the bipartisan support. We look forward to working with these two leaders to pass this necessary legislation."

“While there is disagreement about whether certain tobacco products should be regulated or not, there should be agreement that new regulations should apply to products moving forward, and not retroactively,” said Congressman Cole. “Inconsistent authority like this will be detrimental and unfair to many manufacturers and businesses. This legislation preserves the FDA’s ability to regulate these products on part with cigarettes, grandfathers currently available products and then requires the FDA’s approval before any new product is introduced.”

This legislation updates the predicate date for deemed tobacco products (which includes vapor products, pipe tobacco, and cigars) to the effective date of the final deeming regulation (August 8, 2016), and provides manufacturers and importers with a 21-month period to submit a substantial equivalence report or new tobacco product application to the FDA. This change guarantees fair treatment for all newly deemed products. 

Additionally, it also contains important provisions to prevent the marketing of products towards children and youth. It includes restrictions on vapor products that go farther than the FDA’s deeming rule and are consistent with FDA’s current treatment of cigarettes. For example, this law requires “Keep out Reach of Children” and “Underage Sale Prohibited” language on labeling of vapor products. 

The CAA is grateful to Congressmen Cole and Bishop for their leadership on this important issue. 

For a section-by-section analysis of the bill, click here.