Judge Lifts Cigar Regulations from Cigarette Industry

(IntegrityPress.org) – Federal judge Amit Mehta has thrown out a rule from 2016 issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that listed premium cigars as tobacco products. This originally made them fall under the same federal regulations as cigarettes.

FDA’s argument that cigars should be under the same regulations as cigarettes is not tenable, according to Mehta‚Äôs ruling on Wednesday, August 16. He emphasized that a rule found to be arbitrary under the federal Administrative Procedure Act typically gets vacated, unless “exceptional” circumstances exist. Mehta also noted that his decision was made even simpler because most states in the US restrict cigar sales to minors.

In 2016 groups Cigar Association of America (CAA) and Cigar Rights of America filed lawsuits regarding the regulations on premium cigars. In their legal action, these groups asserted that the deeming rule subjected cigar producers to requirements impractical for handcrafted, “artisanal” premium cigars. The plaintiffs argued that, unlike cigarettes and vapes, premium cigars do not have a similar appeal to young people and are not associated with addictive behaviors. They referenced studies indicating that younger people are unlikely to consume premium cigars and that occasional cigar usage is not linked to heightened mortality rates.

In July of 2022, Judge Mehta found that the FDA had disregarded these studies entirely, merely asserting that there was “no evidence” to support the notion that premium cigars were less harmful, without addressing the opposing evidence of the extremely low number of young people who smoke premium cigars.

The FDA had said in a legal filing that the case held a lot of status. According to them, revoking the rule would eliminate federal-level regulations for premium cigars, which could pose a risk for younger people.

The president of the CAA, David Ozgo, said the court’s decision is a significant triumph for cigar enthusiasts throughout the US.

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