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Opinion: The Cigar Industry’s Court Victory Burns the FDA

Not today, FDA! The cigar community just won a victory in court against a greedy, overgrown government that seeks to get its grubby paws into every aspect of American life.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Meheta of D.C. ruled that the FDA can’t enforce premarket regulations on premium cigars until they consider a more streamlined approach that would apply strictly to the premium cigar industry, according to cstoredecisions.com

Meheta’s ruling reinforced the August 2020 definition of premium cigars which reads:

“a cigar that: (1) is wrapped in whole tobacco leaf; (2) contains a 100 percent leaf tobacco binder; (3) contains at least 50 percent (of the filler by weight) long filler tobacco (i.e., whole tobacco leaves that run the length of the cigar); (4) is handmade or hand-rolled (i.e., no machinery was used apart from simple tools, such as scissors to cut the tobacco prior to rolling); (5) has no filter, non-tobacco tip, or non-tobacco mouthpiece; (6) does not have a characterizing flavor other than tobacco; (7) contains only tobacco, water, and vegetable gum with no other ingredients or additives; and (8) weighs more than 6 pounds per 1,000 units.”

This is at least a temporary victory for the cigar industry and cigar consumers everywhere against a bunch of government bureaucrats who clearly don’t smoke cigars or know how cigars are made, as they continually attempt to group cigars and pipe tobacco in with regulations regarding vapes or cigarettes. The court ruling means that cigar companies can continue to produce the same blends that brothers and sisters of the leaf know and love without any additional regulations for the foreseeable future.

As an avid cigar and pipe smoker, I am angered, but not surprised that the government would try to keep freedom-loving Americans like myself from engaging in a hobby that for so many is about relaxation and community. Premium cigars are handmade products made up of three parts, a wrapper, binder, and filler. The three parts of a cigar are nothing more than bunched up tobacco leaves held together by a little bit of fruit pectin. There’s honestly no way an individual could make a more organic product than that.

The FDA’s attempt to further regulate cigars is not about any sort of safety concerns, but yet another attempt to control both the means of production and consumer market freedom. The reality of the FDA’s war on cigars should concern every libertarian even if they don’t smoke cigars as it is a glaring assault on self-ownership.

The government has a nasty habit of ruining everything it touches. If the FDA has its way, it could lead to absolutely disastrous consequences like the destruction of family-owned companies that have been around for generations. The effects of regulating the cigar industry further could mean economic disaster for many of the Latin American countries whose economy depends heavily on the manufacturing of premium cigars. The truth of the matter isn’t merely a smoke and mirrors game. In fact, Martinez Cuenca of Joya De Nicaragua says that more than 45,000 families depend on the cigar industry in Nicaragua, according to Cigar Aficionado.

In this way, the personal freedom of the cigar smoker and the economic security of these Latin American countries are linked, and if the FDA is allowed to persist in its war on tobacco, both could be in danger.
As a Libertarian and a student of history, I know that much more than the hobby of the cigar smoker is at stake, but also an entire world of craftsmanship, artistry, and the legacy of countless proud families is at stake. Anyone who loves liberty should appreciate the endurance of the cigar industry, which continues to fight against the numerous attacks of government goons.

As for me, I’m going to have a cigar and enjoy the cigar industry’s burn on the FDA!

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