Cigar smokers are mad as hell, and they aren’t going to take it anymore. Faced with an unprecedented assault on their guilty pleasure from President Barack Obama’s Food and Drug Administration, aficionados and industry insiders told The Daily Caller that they’re picking up their torch lighters and revolting.

Usually divided by their preferences for mild, medium and full-bodied smokes, they’re uniting against regulations that threaten to make cigars prohibitively expensive, shut down scores of small cigar shops, jeopardize tens of thousands of jobs and erase the traditionally bright line between Camels and Cohibas.

The Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011 arrived in the House in April and the Senate in August. Much of the domestic cigar supply enters the United States in the Sunshine State, and two Florida legislators — Republican Rep. Bill Posey and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson — are leading the charge.

The bill’s focus is to carve out an exception for premium cigars in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2009.

The Tobacco Control Act (TCA) gave the FDA new authority to regulate tobacco, and the agency has most famously wielded that power by requiring garish photographic warnings this year on cigarette packs. But the law, an FDA spokesperson told The Daily Caller in an email, “also permits FDA to deem other ‘tobacco products’ subject to the TCA’s general controls by regulation.”


Continue reading →