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Washington, DC: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (FDA-CTP) was founded in 2009 in order to regulate the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of tobacco products as designated by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Between the years of 2009 and 2023, the government estimates that the FDA-CTP collected and spent $8 billion of user fees directly from the manufacturers and importers of tobacco and nicotine products.
New England: In the heart of New England, nestled between rolling hills and meandering riverbanks, lies the best-kept secret of the premium cigar industry for centuries. The Connecticut River Valley, known for its bucolic charm and picturesque landscapes, plays a pivotal role in the world of premium cigars. This is a story of how soil, climate, and tradition have converged to create exceptional tobacco coveted by cigar enthusiasts worldwide.
New York: It was the middle of the afternoon, and most guests were already onto their second or even third cigar, when senior contributing editor Gordon Mott asked Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana and his two sons, Litto Jr. and Tony, to join him on stage. What followed was an emotional seminar that at one moment would have guests laughing out loud and the next, feeling a few hard tugs at their heartstrings. The classic dichotomy of the father-and-son relationship, balanced between playful barbs and teaching moments, was on full display with Gomez and his two sons.
New York: Many of us know Connecticut by its nickname the Nutmeg State, even while nutmeg trees have never been grown there. But the Big Smoke seminar The Three Faces of Connecticut concentrated on a plant for which the New England state should be more rightfully known: cigar tobacco. In the northern part of this state, it grows in abundance.
WASHINGTON, DC (November 6, 2023) – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released the results of its annual survey on youth tobacco use, which found that underage use is falling to historic lows.
Considered the most reliable data on underage tobacco use, the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) this year found decreases in use across almost all categories. As it relates to middle and high school students who used tobacco products, this group was least likely to use “cigars,” with the rate falling from 2.8% to 1.8% over the last year.
While all reduction in underage tobacco use is cause for celebration, it is important to note that the data collected still fails to differentiate between premium cigars, which demonstrate nearly no detectable youth use at all, and mass-market cigar products. Mass-market cigars represent the vast majority of the underage cigar use, are typically sold at lower prices, and sometimes mimic cigarettes in form and function.
Because there is no evidence of meaningful youth use of premium cigars, continuing to report these different categories of products as a single type conflates youth-usage data and could make under-age mass-market cigar use appear lower than it is in reality.
Cigar Rights of America (CRA) urges CDC to follow the U.S. House of Representatives’ encouragement to update the cigar category for the next wave of NYTS data, separating premium and mass-market products (H.R. Rpt. 117-403, at 82). While CDC declined to modify the NYTS questionnaire after that encouragement from the House, including this question would give the data significantly more granularity and give Americans a clearer picture of the real trends in youth use.
To accurately capture this data, CDC should update the 2024 NYTS questionnaire by using the definition that has been adopted by the federal courts, which defines a premium cigar as one that:
- Is wrapped in a whole tobacco leaf;
- Contains a 100% leaf tobacco binder;
- 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);
- 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);
- Has no filter, nontobacco tip, or non-tobacco mouthpiece;
- Does not have a characterizing flavor other than tobacco;
- Contains only tobacco, water, and vegetable gum with no other ingredients or additives; and
- Weighs more than 6 pounds per 1,000 units.
CRA firmly opposes all underage tobacco use, and we believe the first step to preventing it is collecting accurate data on the problem. We hope CDC will act to obtain the clearest data on this important issue.
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Cigar Rights of America
About Cigar Rights of America (CRA): Cigar Rights of America is a national advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers, retail tobacconists, suppliers, distributors, importers, and manufacturers of premium cigars. CRA works to promote and preserve the freedom to enjoy premium cigars.