Cigar regulation is topic of Land letter

By Staff
Jun 18, 2012

Congress should reject an effort to exclude some cigars from regulation by the federal government, Southern Baptist and Methodist ethics leaders say.

In a June 15 letter, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, joined the United Methodist Church’s Jim Winkler in asking congressional leaders to oppose a bill that would exempt many cigars from control by the Food and Drug Administration.

Their letter went to Rep. Harold Rogers, R.-Ky., chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, and the panel’s lead Democrat, Rep. Norman Dicks of Washington.

Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society, and Land wrote on behalf of Faith United Against Tobacco, a coalition of 30 national religious groups.

The attempt to pass a bill, H.R. 1639, to exempt some cigars comes three years after enactment of legislation empowering the FDA to regulate tobacco products for the first time. The religious coalition, with the ERLC as a member, actively pursued passage of that measure.

The health risks of cigar smoking are not the same as those of cigarette smoking, Land and Winkler acknowledged, but they said consistent use of cigars can result in cancer. Nearly 18 percent of high school boys smoke some kind of cigar, they said in the letter.

Land and Winkler urged Rogers and Dicks to oppose an attempt to add the bill to a spending measure for the FDA, saying the agency should maintain authority over all tobacco products, including cigars. Cigar manufacturers, as well as retailers, are leading the effort to exempt some of their products, they told the congressmen.

While the FDA has yet to propose rules for cigars, Land and Winkler said, “Such a broad exemption would prevent FDA from implementing even common-sense rules designed to protect children and others.”

Tobacco companies and some retailers have argued the bill would exclude only “traditional large and premium” cigars from regulation, Winkler and Land said, but they contended it could exclude “inexpensive, fruit- and candy-flavored” cigars that appeal to kids.

“The faith community spends too much time burying mothers, sisters, and brothers who die because they become addicted to tobacco products,” Land and Winkler said. “We know all too well that the tobacco companies continue to spend billions of dollars to attract people to their deadly products and we urge you not to weaken FDA’s authority to protect children and others from cigars and all other tobacco products.”

Further Learning

Learn more about: Family, Addictions, Citizenship, Legislation, National,

You May Also Like

5 Facts About Abortion in America

By Joe Carter - Jan 16, 2014 - (1)

This weekend many churches in America will observe Sanctity of Life Sunday. Every year Christians use this day to change lives through sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and connecting God’s Church with women and families in unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.…

Read More

Supreme Court review of HHS mandate likely

By Tom Strode - Sep 23, 2013

The Obama administration’s controversial abortion/contraception mandate has moved a step closer to Supreme Court scrutiny.

Both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a business owned by pro-life Christians, asked the high court Sept.…

Read More

Issue Analysis: World Hunger Relief

By Daniel J. Hurst - Oct 9, 2013 - (1)

World hunger is an issue that affects millions of people on both an international and domestic scale, irrespective of geography or ethnicity. According to the United Nations World Food Programme, 1 in 8 people in the world do not get enough food to lead an active and healthy life, which equates to over 800 million worldwide.…

Read More
Land: Mandate ‘accommodation’ not enough Power of Prayer