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California SB-793 has worrying text re:cigars?

nathanw13

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August 28th California approved and signed into law SB-793, which mainly effects the sale of flavored tobacco and is aimed at vaping in particular. It contains some worrying text though:

>A tobacco product shall not be determined to have a characterizing flavor solely because of the use of additives or flavorings or the provision of ingredient information. Rather, it is the presence of a distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, as described in the first sentence of this definition, that constitutes a characterizing flavor.

>“Premium cigar” means any cigar that is handmade, is not mass produced by use of mechanization, has a wrapper that is made entirely from whole tobacco leaf, and has a wholesale price of no less than twelve dollars ($12). A premium cigar does not have a filter, tip, or nontobacco mouthpiece and is capped by hand.

>There is a rebuttable presumption that a tobacco product is a flavored tobacco product if a manufacturer or any of the manufacturer’s agents or employees, in the course of their agency or employment, has made a statement or claim directed to consumers or to the public that the tobacco product has or produces a characterizing flavor, including, but not limited to, text, color, images, or all, on the product’s labeling or packaging that are used to explicitly or implicitly communicate that the tobacco product has a characterizing flavor.

These statements - along with setting a price level on cigars - seem really vaguely worded in regards to what a flavored cigar actually is; if an advertisement notes that a cigar has notes of coffee, chocolate, spice, etc... it seems that they can interpret that to fall within the definition of 'flavored'.

Link to full bill here:

I'm not a Californian so this has no immediate effect on me, but it appears worrisome if other states follow suit. Thoughts? Californians who this does effect: thoughts?
 
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Boudie

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It's vague enough that it can be interpreted many ways.

As long as a cigar's flavor profile talks about the nuances and hints of flavors they should be fine. Most of the cigars we smoke have no outstanding, dominating flavors. Ton's of manure in this cigar - that's not manure it's hints of barnyard and damp moss. If you can't readily identify the flavors.......it can't be a flavored cigar.

I can see a judge now
State attorney "this cigar has easily identifiable flavors of manure"
Cigar attorney "Mr. Prosecutor Do you know what Manure tastes like? If not I brought you a sample to try"
Judge "Case dismissed unless the Prosecutor and Jury want to eat a spoon of manure"

Also doesn't seem to be any restrictions on non-manufacturer or reseller's ability to describe a cigar's flavor.

They specifically mention wholesale price, not wholesale cost. The cigars are $12 each listed wholesale price, if you buy 2 boxes we can give you a discount or credit from listed wholesale price. Did you ever pay MSRP for a Gurka? They specifically didn't mention final retail price of the cigar so the shops can still sell singles at less then $12 each.

I can see how a taxing authority wants this in the law. During an audit they count how many cigars you bought and multiply by $12 to determine tax basis instead of looking at actual costs.

I didn't visit the link because it seems to be the same wordage used in the FDA lawsuit so if I'm wrong it's because of pure laziness.
 

nathanw13

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It's similar to the current FDA lawsuit except that the suit isn't aimed so much at flavored cigars/tobacco products, but cigars as a whole. The main difference in the lawsuit's definition is the stated price, but it goes into a bit more detail as well.

>a cigar that: (1) is wrapped in whole tobacco leaf; (2) contains a 100 percent leaf tobacco binder; (3) contains at least 50 percent (of the filler by weight) long filler tobacco (i.e., whole tobacco leaves that run the length of the cigar); (4) is handmade or hand rolled (i.e., no machinery was used apart from simple tools, such as scissors to cut the tobacco prior to rolling); (5) has no filter, nontobacco tip, or nontobacco mouthpiece; (6) does not have a characterizing flavor other than tobacco; (7) contains only tobacco, water, and vegetable gum with no other ingredients or additives; and (8) weighs more than 6 pounds per 1,000 units.”
 
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They are going to crush the California B&Ms if this stuff continues. I haven't bought a box of cigars in California in years, and rarely support any local shop because of the absurd taxes.
 
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^ This.

I haven’t been to a lounge at all in CA, and only to the B&M for butane.

I hate this state, but the worst part is, there’s so much potential. If it wasn't for the dumb people, insane taxation, and nonsense policies, I’d consider staying. But as of right now - I’m planning to move by the end of 2021.
 

Thebutcher

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I think this will kill Acid's business in Cali they are hand rolled etc, but the color of the bands denote the type of infusion (flavor if you will) of the cigar and while there NOT flavored per se ,you could easily make a case for prohibiting or regulating them under that definition
 

Thebutcher

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>There is a rebuttable presumption that a tobacco product is a flavored tobacco product if a manufacturer or any of the manufacturer’s agents or employees, in the course of their agency or employment, has made a statement or claim directed to consumers or to the public that the tobacco product has or produces a characterizing flavor,

@nathanw13 is right

I went to Small Batch
and grabbed this. You can find this type of description on all most every cigar page or advertisement

Hemingway Smoking Experience:
Body: Medium
Strength: Medium
Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Graham Cracker, Butter Cream Icing, Cedar, Peppercorn, Orange Zest

A lawyer could make a good case with this on ANY cigar
 
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Boudie

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I'm not sure the tasting notes for the Hemingway could be labeled "characterizing" The average person would just taste "tobacco" I have never tasted Butter Cream Icing in a cigar. I also believe the taste description provided by Small Batch would not qualify as a Manufacturer or their agencies' description unless of course it is provided by the manufacturer to assist in the sales of the cigar.

Acid would have a problem, which is the original intent of the law. Not making flavored tobacco appealing to children
 

Thebutcher

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I'm not sure the tasting notes for the Hemingway could be labeled "characterizing" The average person would just taste "tobacco" I have never tasted Butter Cream Icing in a cigar. I also believe the taste description provided by Small Batch would not qualify as a Manufacturer or their agencies' description unless of course it is provided by the manufacturer to assist in the sales of the cigar.

Acid would have a problem, which is the original intent of the law. Not making flavored tobacco appealing to children
You are totally right, the problem as I see it is laws with vague wording (and this is done on purpose ) lets bureaucrat and agencies interpret the laws as they wish (and courts have upheld this process ) and not elected officials. so it gives politicians cover.
you can definitely call Small Batches description as flavors and any large cigar retailer as a dealer or agent.(again vague interpretation )
 
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Boudie

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Yep, which leads to the old saying "It ain't over till it's over"

I still think the importance of South Florida in the current political climate is what slowed down the FDA.
 

nathanw13

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If we're not allowing a blurb from SB, how about a blurb from the manufacturer. This is straight from Perdomo's page on the 10th Anniversary Champaign:

>The beautiful, butterscotch colored Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper imparts sweet hints of cream and honey.
 

Thebutcher

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If we're not allowing a blurb from SB, how about a blurb from the manufacturer. This is straight from Perdomo's page on the 10th Anniversary Champaign:

>The beautiful, butterscotch colored Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper imparts sweet hints of cream and honey.
Imagine the ream's of paper a lawyer could bring into court from manufacture's web sites and cigar magazines and all the reviews with the" flavor" profiles
@Boudie is right any cigar smoker (or normal sane person) would tell you the notes aren't flavors but with lawyers..... "Just look at the evidence here!!"
 

Boudie

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@Thebutcher The term "their agency or their employment" is defining here. If I write a review, since no one pays me (or cares for that matter) I can say what ever I want about the flavors of a cigar.

There will be a lot of discussion about what qualifies as agency. Does Cigar Aficionado have an agency agreement with a manufacturer if they advertise in their publication? How about Katman if a manufacturer sends him a cigar for review?
 

nathanw13

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@Boudie while I agree with what you're saying, the quote I pulled above was directly from the Perdomo website. Not a reviewer, not a magazine, but Perdomo. And I didn't exactly dig too find it - I just looked up the cigar I happened to be smoking at the time. I feel quite certain that if you looked up any manufacturer's website you're sure to find similar descriptions. That fits the 'their agency or employers ' statement.
 

Boudie

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@nathanw13

If the wording has been codified then I can see how Perdomo would be prevented from selling that cigar in California.
 
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