Earlier today, D.C. District Court Judge Amit Mehta issued an injunction prohibiting the U.S. Food & Drug Administration from enforcing its warning label requirements on cigars and pipe tobacco. The warning label requirements for packaging and advertising were slated to go into effect on August 10th. Judge Mehta’s order delays any enforcement of the requirement until at least 60 days after the conclusion of an appeal currently underway. No date has been set for a court to hear the appeal.
Today’s decision is a direct result of the ongoing lawsuit brought by IPCPR, the Cigar Association of America and the Cigar Rights of America. Judge Mehta had previously ruled on this case in May – and did not endorse the Associations’ challenge to the warning labels issue. Following the ruling, IPCPR, CAA and CRA appealed and requested that Judge Mehta prohibit the FDA’s warning label requirements until a decision on the appeal is finalized. In his order issued today, Judge Mehta agreed, recognizing the suit raises substantial and complex issues about retailers’ constitutional rights, and that the FDA was not justified to require warnings before those issues are fully resolved, “In the end, this court believes that Plaintiffs are entitled to a full hearing before an appellate court with the specter of a warnings regime going into effect.”
Scott Pearce, IPCPR Executive Director recognizes this is a positive, if not temporary development for retailers and the broader industry. “This deadline has been bearing down on our members for some time now. And while this is a temporary reprieve, it is a welcome development and hopefully a sign that our message is resonating. IPCPR is proud to be a party to this lawsuit, and we’ll continue to work with our great legal team and staff in DC to bring about the optimum regulatory framework for the premium cigar industry.”