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Cigar industry wins court round in challenge to FDA regulations

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A federal judge in Washington D.C. has blocked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s attempt to regulate premium cigars.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta in Washington D.C. ruled that the FDA ignored scientific evidence when it included premium cigars in its Proposed Rule Deeming Tobacco Products to Be Subject to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FDCA).

During court proceedings, the Cigar Association of America presented evidence that an FDA-funded study showed cigar smokers do not have higher “all-cause” mortality rates than non-smokers.

“The agency then ignored relevant data in the record that commentors had highlighted and inexplicably made a ‘no data’ finding,” Mehta ruled. “The significance of the agency’s error supports vacatur.”

As a result of the ruling, the FDA would need to restart the rulemaking process if it chooses to, the Cigar Association said in a news release.

“This is a big victory for cigar enthusiasts across America,” CAA President David Ozgo said in a statement. “The evidence clearly showed the public would receive little benefit resulting from FDA regulation of premium cigars. Moreover, regulation would add burdensome costs to all premium cigar manufacturers which cannot be justified.”

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