Cigar Wars: A Case for Regulating Cigars

Marshall C. Deason – American Lung Association

In the past few weeks, FineTobaccoNYC has been continuing our “Cigar Wars” series, centered on the fight over regulation of the premium cigar industry. We’ve posted quite a few articles from the perspective of the industry, particularly small businesses.

Recently, though, I’ve been reading articles presenting the other side of the issue, and I want to share one that I think presents a pretty good argument for the other side. In “Why protect cigars that are aimed at children?”, Marshall C. Deason of the American Lung Association presents his case for FDA regulation of cigars. I’d encourage you to click on the link and take a read.

For those of you don’t click the link, the most potent argument he makes (in my opinion), is that, if cigars are exempted from FDA oversight, tobacco companies will change their business strategy to market and sell more flavored cigars to children. He notes that products like cigarillos and Swisher Sweets would be exempted as well under the proposed exemption rules.  Deason writes,

“Products that could claim to be exempted include Swisher Sweets blunts and cigarillos, which are available in flavors such as chocolate, strawberry, grape and peach, and Phillies cigarillos, which come in flavors including watermelon, sour apple, mango, banana and coconut. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that Phillies and Swisher Sweets are among the most popular cigar brands among youth age 12-17.”

I’d be curious to know if our readers find Deason’s arguments compelling. What do you think?