Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, is blasting the Food and Drug Administration for its “job-killing” regulations on the premium cigar industry.
Rubio cited the J.C. Newman Cigar Co., a 119-year-old family-owned cigar business based in Tampa, as a primary loser of the FDA’s regulations.
“A government agency that is now more known for its excruciatingly slow approval process for life-saving medicines, sunscreens and medical devices is instead writing rules that would regulate a company out of existence on the basis of what tobacco leaves are being used to wrap their cigars,” Rubio wrote in the Tampa Bay Times.
The company, known for its superior hand-rolled cigars, is the last business of its kind still standing in Tampa. But because of the FDA’s restrictions this feat may soon be over.
The FDA is targeting premium cigar companies through expensive regulations on hand-rolled cigars, such as those produced by Newman. These regulations could cost the Newman brothers their century-old family businesses.
“We have gone through two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Cuban trade embargo, smoking bans, excessive taxation and competition from low-wage countries,” co-owner Eric Newman told the New York Times. “The toughest challenge of all these is the FDA regulations.”
Rubio along with Bill Nelson, D-Florida, is co-sponsoring the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2013 to amend the FDA’s jurisdiction over premium cigar products in hopes of saving the company.
Rubio said his bill halts “the devastating job-killing effect these new regulations would have on this traditional industry.” He alluded to the FDA’s regulations as crossing the “fine line” between regulations that “protect” Americans and regulations that hurt people by “destroying jobs.”