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Agustin is sought after by clients for his strategic counsel on their most challenging competitive and regulatory compliance issues, including tobacco Master Settlement Agreement issues, federal and state enforcement investigations, licensing and excise tax issues, developing compliance programs, and evaluating advertising and marketing practices. A partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group as well as its Tobacco and Cannabis law practices, he represents manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and suppliers in all aspects of their businesses, including regulatory compliance, FDA requirements, administrative disputes involving federal or state governmental entities, mergers and acquisitions, commercial agreements, and taxation matters.

New Virginia law addresses excise taxation and other requirements regarding remote retail sales of cigars and pipe tobacco to consumers in the Commonwealth.

On April 27, 2022, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 1199 and Senate Bill 748 regarding the application of the Commonwealth’s tobacco products tax on “remote retail sales” of cigars and pipe tobacco and related requirements.
Continue Reading Virginia Enacts Tobacco Products Tax Law Applicable to Remote Retail Sales of Cigars and Pipe Tobacco

Last year we reported that Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan’s office settled with several online sellers over alleged violations of the state’s delivery sales ban of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) (the Delivery Sale Ban) and that we expected Vermont’s scrutiny to continue. As predicted, Attorney General Donovan’s office recently announced two more settlements with online sellers, resulting in a total of 23 settlements with online ENDS sellers for a total of $833,750 in civil penalties dating back to December 2020.
Continue Reading Vermont Continues Its Crackdown on Online ENDS Sellers

Under Judge Grimm’s Revised Remedial Order, FDA must submit quarterly status reports regarding its review of pending PMTAs for certain popular vapor products.

On April 15, 2022, Judge Paul W. Grimm of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ordered  FDA to submit status reports to the Court and to the Plaintiffs in the case every ninety days, beginning on April 29th.
Continue Reading Deeming Regulations Litigation Update—Federal Court Exercises Even More Oversight over FDA’s PMTA Review

On February 15, the Senate confirmed cardiologist Robert M. Califf, M.D., to lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He’s no stranger to the agency. Dr. Califf served a brief stint as FDA’s commissioner of food and drugs from February 2016 to January 2017, and before that, he was deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco from February 2015 until February 2016. So what might his appointment mean for the tobacco industry? We have five takeaways.

Continue Reading Dr. Califf Takes the Reins at FDA: Five Takeaways for the Tobacco Industry

In August 2021, Swisher International Inc. filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking to have the FDA’s Deeming Rule declared invalid. Swisher followed its lawsuit with a petition for injunction to prevent FDA from taking enforcement action against Swisher while Swisher’s lawsuit against the FDA’s implementation of the Deeming Rule is under consideration and while the FDA processes Swisher’s pending 173 premarket applications. On February 3, 2022, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction finding that Swisher was not likely to suffer “irreparable harm.”
Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Denies Swisher International’s Request For An Injunction of Further Enforcement by FDA

Bryan Haynes and Agustin Rodriguez of the Troutman Pepper tobacco team will be attending the Tobacco Plus Expo in Las Vegas on January 26-28, 2022.  We look forward to seeing our clients and friends at the show.

For questions and/or comments, please contact Bryan Haynes, at 804.697.1420 – bryan.haynes@troutman.com or Agustin Rodriguez, at 804.697.1381 –

Some cigarette pack labels may soon feature the phrases “95% less nicotine,” “helps reduce your nicotine consumption,” and “… greatly reduces your nicotine consumption.” On December 23, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued modified risk granted orders to 22nd Century Group, Inc.’s VLN King and VLN Menthol King cigarettes, allowing the company to market the low-nicotine cigarettes with these proposed reduced exposure claims if the company adds the phrase “Helps you smoke less.” Of course, the company’s products will continue to be required to bear one of four Surgeon General’s warnings for cigarettes.
Continue Reading In a First, FDA Authorizes Marketing of Low-Nicotine Cigarette as “Modified Risk Tobacco Product”

The scope and scale of state attorneys general investigations has expanded for several reasons, including a perceived lack of enforcement at the federal level. Many state attorneys general are not reticent to fill a perceived regulatory void, and they routinely conduct investigations and bring enforcement actions when they observe a federal agency is not moving fast enough or otherwise has neglected its responsibility.
Continue Reading Five Tips for When State Attorneys General Come Knocking

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has made available the Field Information Kit and Management Instructions referenced in its November 4, 2021 Postal Bulletin, correcting hyperlinks in the Postal Bulletin. The Field Information Kit and the Management Instruction are posted to the USPS website, available here and here, respectively.
Continue Reading US Postal Service Posts PACT Act/POSECCA Field Information Kit and Management Instructions

On November 16, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein launched a probe into e-cigarette maker Puff Bar and others, citing concerns of youth-appealing flavors, youth marketing, and poor age verification. In a statement, Stein announced, “We are actively investigating Puff Bar and other companies at all stages of the distribution chain, from manufacturers to retailers and everything in between to ensure they are not profiting off kids.”
Continue Reading North Carolina AG Opens Investigation Into E-Cigarette Maker Puff Bar