Cigar Association of America, Inc.

The national trade organization of cigar manufacturers, importers and distributors as well as major suppliers to the industry.
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Setting the Record Straight On Flavored Cigars

Setting the Record Straight On Flavored Cigars
Craig Williamson, President of CAA

A law passed in 2009 giving the FDA authority to regulated flavored cigarettes – and “discretion” to expand the regulation to other products as well. Certain lawmakers are now calling on the FDA to add flavored cigars to that list.

The reason? They claim the intent behind these products is to market cigars to minors. The idea is absurd. 

CAA has always supported efforts to keep kids from smoking – but what we can’t support are false perceptions about the cigar industry.

First, flavored cigars are a product for adults, enjoyed by adults—and they have been for more than 500 years. Flavored cigars are not some new gimmicky product cigar makers are foisting on the public. They’ve been around since the early 1500s. And in fact, flavored cigars are among the fastest growing segment in the industry—not as cheap alternatives, but as premium cigars. 

A recent poll on www.cigaraficionado.com revealed that 17% of premium cigar smokers said they smoked flavored cigars. But the increase in the popularity of flavored cigars has not resulted in an increase in cigar consumption overall—and here’s the important part… it hasn’t increased youth consumption either.

The most recent national studies show youth cigar usage on the decline. The results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings showed that cigar usage dropped from 4.5 percent in 2002 to 3.4 percent in 2011 among kids between 12 and 17 years old.

Any new rules the FDA makes has to be based on the facts. And when it comes to facts, the FDA doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

The cigar industry is made up of mothers and fathers like any industry, and we don’t want kids smoking either. But the reality is, there are already laws in place to prevent youth smoking. If kids are getting their hands on tobacco products, there is a problem with how these laws are being enforced. Fix that, and you’ll fix the problem. But don’t deny adults the right to choose a flavored cigar—and hand the FDA even more power in the process—just because the existing laws aren’t being enforced.

A flavored cigar may or may not be in your humidor. Regardless, as an adult, you should have the right to choose one (even if it’s just for your guests). Any political attacks on flavored cigars are not based on fact, but on political spin tactics designed to further their own agenda. 

It's already illegal to sell tobacco to minors. It’s time we start enforcing the law, rather than take away adult rights.