Gov. Rick Scott Fights for Tampa Cigar Company

JC Newman Cigar Company in Tampa

Florida Governor Rick Scott isn’t very happy about proposed FDA regulations that would significantly impact cigar companies, a valuable part of Tampa’s history.

Scott, along with Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, sent a letter to Commissioner Margaret Hamburg requesting that the FDA amend regulations requiring that cigar companies charge $10 for premium cigars, saying it’s hurting small businesses.

In the letter, Scott cited the J.C. Newman Cigar Company, the only remaining cigar factory in Tampa, saying that the FDA is “putting undue and excessive burdens on this family-owned company for no logical reason.”

Scott said that the $10 charge would inhibit future sales and that J.C. Newman and companies like it should not not have to comply with the same regulations as national cigarette manufacturers with more resources.

He also noted that requiring FDA approval for each type of cigar would require “upwards of 5,000 hours of testing at the company’s expense – a massive burden for a company like J.C. Newman, which simply does not have the financial bandwidth of national cigarette companies that have long incorporated these kinds of requirements into their bottom line.”

“As America’s oldest family owned premium cigar maker, J.C. Newman is also one of America’s historic treasures,” Scott wrote. “Therefore, we are urging you to amend the proposed rule to exclude premium cigar companies like J.C. Newman from these onerous regulations. We hope that this local, family-owned business will be allowed the opportunity to compete on a fair playing field.”

Tampa has enjoyed a rich history in cigar manufacturing. During the early 1900s, it had more than 150 cigar factories and produced more than a half-bullion cigars each year. Now “Cigar City” only has one — J.C. Newman.