I’m glad to see someone is doing their homework, because the American Cancer Society and over 40 anti-tobacco groups certainly aren’t. A letter signed by anti-smoking groups arguing against HR 1639 (exempting cigars from FDA oversight) stated,
“We are particularly concerned about the wide range of products that would likely be exempted from any regulation under the bill, including Swisher Sweets Sweet Chocolate Blunts, Phillies Sugarillos Cigarillos (described on the box as “when sweet isn’t enough!”), White Owl grape Blunts Xtra, and Optimo peach Blunts. These products come in flavors and are among the most popular with youth.”
From the text of the letter, and some commentary posted by other anti-tobacco leaders, this exemption is some sort of sneaky ploy by big tobacco to shift away from marketing cigarettes to children to marketing cigars to children. And if that was the case, it really would be a pretty terrible thing.
Our friends at the American Cancer Society didn’t do their homework. As a letter from the IPCPR points out, the text of HR 1639 states that the exemption is for cigars that are “wrapped in leaf tobacco, contains no filter, and weighs at least 6 pounds per 1,000 count…”
If you know anything about Swisher Sweets, you’d know that they are not wrapped in leaf tobacco – a detail that the ACS probably missed, presumably because they don’t know anything about the premium cigar products they are trying to destroy.
Many thanks to the writers of HR 1639, who provided a short, concise exemption that keeps cheap, sweetened cigars highly regulated while trying to save the premium cigar industry.