On Monday, August 27, 2012 Representative Henry Waxman held a press conference at Fairfax High School to discuss the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) new report, “Flavored Cigar Smoking Among U.S. Adults: Findings from the 2009-2012 National Adult Tobacco Survey.” This report, determined that flavored cigars are used the most among the young, poor, Hispanic, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered (LGBT) populations. The report also found that 44.9% of cigars smokers in California use flavored cigars, which is slightly higher than the national average of 42.9%.
Representative Henry Waxman called on the FDA to regulate cigars – including flavored cigars, which was echoed by the other speakers as well. While the FDA was granted immediate authority to regulate cigarettes and smokeless products under the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009, the agency must assert authority over cigars and other tobacco products to begin its oversight. Although the FDA has expressed its intent to do so, it has yet to claim authority over any other tobacco product and attempts are being made in Congress to exclude cigars. For this reason, Representative Waxman also called on Congress to protect the FDA’s authority over all tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Pending legislation in the U.S. Senate (S.1461) and the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1639)—heavily “encouraged” by the cigar industry—would exempt many cigars, including candy-flavored and other cigars that are most popular among youth and other vulnerable populations, from any FDA oversight.
Our very own Jane Warner, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California, also spoke at the press conference. She talked about the Lung Association’s involvement with local cities to pass tobacco retail licensing ordinances to stop youth access to tobacco products. Like Huntington Park, the first city to prohibit the sale of individual little cigars and cigarillos, requiring products to be sold in their original packaging – helping to increase the price of these products.
In addition the press conference featured speakers from our partners at the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Los Angeles Unified School, and Los Angeles Tobacco Control and Prevention Program all highlighting the need to regulate cigars from vulnerable populations.
If you are currently working on a tobacco retail license campaign, and want more information about flavored cigars and cigarillos check out this new report, as well the previous two reports, “Consumption of Cigarettes and Combustible Tobacco – United States, 2000-2011” and “Current Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States, 2011.