HomeWashington Letter2016 ▶ House Agriculture Funding Bill Includes Bad Tobacco Provisions
House Agriculture Funding Bill Includes Bad Tobacco Provisions

April 2016

The House Appropriations Committee passed its version of the fiscal year 2017 Agriculture Appropriations – which funds the Food and Drug Administration. During the Committee's consideration of the bill, they included tobacco-related provisions that would severely limit FDA's authority to regulate tobacco products.

The first provision would exempt "premium cigars" from any sort of regulation.  While supporters of the provision say the exemption only applies to "hand-rolled and other premium cigars" the legislative definition of premium cigars would include machine- rolled cigars – like the grape-flavored GAMES cigars, made by tobacco giant Swedish Match that costs as little as $0.99.

The second provision, known as the "grandfathering provision", would effectively exempt from the scope of FDA's authority new tobacco products that were introduced in the U.S. market after 2007. The goal of this provision is to exempt e-cigarettes from FDA regulation.

Both provisions were adopted along largely partisan votes.

If enacted, "premium cigars" and e-cigarette manufacturers would likely be exempt from any of the regulations that currently apply to cigarettes, including warning labels, disclosure of ingredients, prohibition of false reduced-harm claims and restrictions on youth marketing.

The ATS joined other medical and public health organizations in opposing both provisions.  The ATS will continue to work to prevent either provision from being included in the final fiscal year 2017 spending bill.

Last Reviewed: October 2017