Yesterday, Drew Estate issued the following statement in response to FDA’s announcements:
The Food and Drug Administration is moving forward with a proposed product standard regarding characterizing flavors in cigars despite a near-vacuum of scientific evidence to support this decision. FDA’S announcement today is only a proposed rule and must go through a lengthy comment and approval process before it can be enacted. Given this, Drew Estate will continue business as usual. Our entire portfolio remains available for us and our retail partners to market and sell to our adult consumers without interruption.
The evidence that does exist with respect to premium cigars, both traditional and flavored, shows occasional consumption by a small cohort of adults, and based on the government’s own studies, that youth usage is virtually non-existent.
The overall public health community has increasingly supported a posture of allowing citizens to make their own informed health decisions. This FDA action, however, does the opposite. It restricts consumer choice and removes adult products from the market without scientific basis for doing so. FDA should suspend action on a flavor standard for cigars until further study is done on the manner of use of various types of cigars and its implications. Indeed, the report recently published by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at the request of FDA recognized the distinct usage patterns of premium cigars and concluded that further research was necessary. Adult cigar consumers should be empowered to weigh the evidence and risk as that information emerges and make fully educated choices.
Drew Estate, individually and as a member of the Cigar Association of America, has been a responsible corporate partner with FDA and has sought to work with the agency not only to understand and meet its obligations but to educate the agency about premium cigars, including the economic impacts of regulation on our retail and wholesale partners. Drew Estate plans to vehemently oppose this measure with meaningful scientific and economic data, and encourages adult consumers, employees, retailers, and other stakeholders to make their views known to FDA and other policymakers.