United States Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act today. This goal of this bill is to exempt premium cigars from excessive and overly burdensome U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and fees. This bill was first introduced by Rubio in 2011 with help from former Senator Bill Nelson.
Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rick Scott (R-FL), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Boozman (R-AR), and John Kennedy (R-LA) have all signed on as co-sponsors. The language for the bill is expected to be the same as previous iterations which have been introduced in the last 5 congresses. It is unlikely that this standalone bill will pass through congress. The more likely scenario is that this type of language will be attached to a bill that gives funding to the FDA.
The premium cigar industry is an iconic staple in Florida’s economy. For far too long, small and family-owned businesses have been facing the threat of regulation that could force many to close their shops. I am proud to reintroduce this legislation that would provide Florida premium cigar makers the certainty they need to continue their craft, and I urge my colleagues to swiftly pass this bill.
United States Senator Marco Rubio
“From Tampa’s Ybor City to Miami’s Little Havana, handcrafted cigars have been an important part of Florida’s cultural heritage for more than 150 years. Today, Florida’s historic premium cigar industry supports thousands of jobs, from farmers to cigar rollers to retailers. We are tremendously grateful to Sen. Rubio for his continued leadership and advocacy in support of small, family businesses in Florida.”
Drew Newman, fourth-generation cigar maker at J.C. Newman Cigar Co. in Tampa