New FDA Rules Could Ruin 119-Year-Old Cigar Business

July 17, 2014

J.C. Newman Cigar Co., in Tampa, Florida, has been in operation since 1895 but may soon be forced out of business by new FDA regulations, according to a report from Watchdog.org.

In an effort to limit youth access to tobacco, the FDA is trying to make affordable cigars a thing of the past. But the regulation would ruin J.C. Newman, a company that has been producing quality cigars for under $10 for over a century.

J.C. Newman is an iconic Tampa business that employs 130 people. Cigars are an important component of Tampa's economy, much like "what wine is to Napa Valley," according to J.C. Newman president Eric Newman. Using 1930s equipment, the company produces its $10 cigars, making it ineligible for a "premium cigar" exemption under the FDA's regulatory proposal. The company spends four months teaching new employees how to use its vintage, hand-operated machines.

The FDA proposed its regulation in April. When the rule is finalized, J.C. Newman will have to obtain approval from the federal government before offering new cigar products, submit each cigar sold to "rigorous scientific review" and comply with manufacturing requirements. Testing new cigar products will require thousands of hours on the part of manufacturers, according to the FDA, and the new manufacturing requirements could prevent the company from using its vintage equipment.

Additionally, the agency will require the company to pay a user fee that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The FDA will continue receiving public comments on the rule until August 8th.

Souce: William Patrick, "FDA Rules Could Kill 119-Year-Old Family Cigar Business," Watchdog.org, July 3, 2014.

 

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