Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Smoke Them If You Can Get Them

Premium cigars, and the people who make them, may be going the way of the health insurance agent. DC has decided to extend regulatory oversight of the tobacco industry in a way that will significantly impact many aspects and effectively drive many small business owners to close their doors.

Under the guise of paternalism, the federal government claims they are looking after the welfare of the citizenry.

The true goal is an attempt to raise taxes incognito and create another windfall for the bureaucracy. It is quite possible the opposite will occur and tax collections will be negatively impacted or neutral.

Let me say this post is not a personal vendetta. I don't use tobacco of any kind and have no horses in this race. While this is a non-insurance post on an insurance website, this venue has also covered topics relating to government overreach, especially when it comes to Obamacare.

First, a bit of history for background purposes.

In 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Brown & Williamson's suit against the FDA. The decision handed down by the high court essentially said the FDA did not have regulatory authority over tobacco.

Within weeks of this ruling, FDA revokes its final rule, issued in 1996, that restricted the sale and distribution of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to children and adolescents, and that determined that cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products are combination products consisting of a drug (nicotine) and device components intended to deliver nicotine to the body. - FDA

I am not a lawyer but it seems as if the FDA thumbed their nose at SCOTUS and used a fallback position to circumvent the ruling and do what they wanted anyway.

And more overreach was to follow.

President Obama signs the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law.  The Tobacco Control Act gives FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to protect public health.

FDA Center for Tobacco Products established.

FDA announced a ban on cigarettes with flavors characterizing fruit, candy, or clove.

As far as we know the president never gave up his promise to quit smoking.

He also promised to make health care affordable for everyone.

In May of 2016 the nicotine police took steps to expand their territory per this article from Reason.

Although yesterday's announcement that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will start regulating e-cigarettes is getting the most attention—Reason’s Jacob Sullum explains why this is awful news for vapers—the agency’s new deeming regulations also have huge implications for the cigar industry.

The threat of FDA restrictions have loomed over the cigar business ever since the FDA took control over cigarettes; yesterday morning, the other shoe finally dropped.

The worst fear of cigar manufacturers and smokers alike has been that the FDA will impose the same onerous pre-market review requirements on cigars that it currently places on cigarettes.

The progression so far has been to regulate and restrict the sale of tobacco products in any form but has also opted to tell the tobacco industry how they can and cannot design their product. By banning flavored tobacco DC has shown the same disregard for industry that Obamacare did by deciding the type of product the health insurance industry can and cannot offer their customers.

Candy flavors in tobacco are restricted but menthol is apparently not a flavor. Apparently rum flavored cigars as well as "sweet" flavored tobacco used in pipes (Cherry Blend) and cigars (Swisher Sweets) are allowed as long as children are not around.

One of my uncles was a pipe smoker and I loved to be around him when he enjoyed his evening puffs of Cherry Blend tobacco.

Of course I also rode in cars that didn't have seat belts and fearlessly rode my bike without a helmet.

More on the march of the tobacco Nazi's in a later post.

#TobaccoRegulation #Obamacare #FDA

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