Troutman Sanders tobacco team partner Bryan Haynes was interviewed for a May 22nd Tampa Bay Times article titled “U.S. fans of Cuban cigars still have long wait before they can be sold here.” The report describes trials and tribulations facing Cuban manufacturers of premium cigars in light of the new deeming regulations published by the FDA on May 10, 2016.

“This administration is talking out of both sides of its mouth,” said Haynes, regarding the new FDA regulations which are beginning to erect a roadblock for cigars and many other tobacco products in their pathway to the market. “While building a better relationship with Cuba, it’s effectively banned its most famous product.” Cigars, which previously did not require FDA approval to be marketed and sold in the United States, will be required to undergo a rigorous approval process before being legally marketed under the new deeming regulations. A cigar would be required to have a “grandfathered” product sold in the market on February 15, 2007, in order to be sold once the deeming regulations come into full force. For the premium cigar market this requirement is doubly troubling, as premium cigars are generally produced in small, individual batches – and, even more so for Cuban cigars, which have been banned in the United States for decades and were certainly not in-market during 2007. “Something produced in the ’50s or ’60s and not sold since then is not grandfathered in the FDA’s eyes,” Haynes states.

To view the full article, click here.

For questions and/or comments, please contact Bryan Haynes, Troutman Sanders tobacco practice partner, at 804.697.1420 or by email.