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SOURCE Pipe Tobacco Council, Inc.
WASHINGTON, April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As the Food and Drug Administration moved to establish new regulatory authority over pipe tobacco in the U.S., the Pipe Tobacco Council said today they planned to work closely with FDA to make sure critical issues are understood and highlighted in the process.
Representing pipe tobacco manufacturers, importers, distributors and other suppliers, PTC officials said the main concern of the traditional American pipe tobacco community is "that we don't let our industry and customers become collateral damage to other regulatory concerns that are irrelevant to pipe smoking." said Craig Williamson, PTC president. It is critical that government regulators appreciate that pipe smokers are a well-identified and small group of adults; pipe smoking is not of interest to adolescents or even young adults. Also, FDA must appreciate true pipe tobacco cannot be used in a roll your own cigarette, despite purveyors of roll your own tobacco wrongly characterizing their tobacco as pipe tobacco to minimize tax exposure.
FDA today announced plans to expand its regulatory authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to include pipe tobacco and other tobacco products.
As a voice for the industry, PTC has informed the FDA about the unique blends and other defining characteristics of pipe tobacco that have set the product apart from other tobacco products for centuries. PTC has intensely focused on education in recent years, as tax policies combined with a lack of information have led some in government to misclassify pipe tobacco, lumping it together with a product known as "roll your own" tobacco for cigarettes and taxing it to levels that threaten the industry's existence.
"Pipe smokers are a very different group of people -- an older generation that enjoys these products like their fathers and grandfathers before them," said Williamson. "Plus, their tobacco is a very different product than cigarette material. It's a difference you can see and feel and smell."
As part of its education process, PTC has produced studies that show "objective and enforceable" standards that distinguish pipe tobacco from loose cigarette tobacco. PTC also proposed its own regulatory framework for the FDA to consider. "We think a good start would be to see which 'roll your own' brands rolled over and pretended to be pipe tobacco when the tax laws changed several years ago," said Williamson. "Consumers know the difference. The industry knows the difference. We need to make certain that Washington knows the difference."
At stake, said Williamson, is a pleasure with an admittedly eclectic appeal. "Pipe tobacco doesn't burn like cigarette tobacco, it smolders. That's a pretty good metaphor for our customers. This isn't a fad for them. They're old fashioned and they mostly want to be left alone on this subject. If we can tell their story and the story of our product, they will get their wish."
The Pipe Tobacco Council, Inc. is the national trade association of manufacturers and importers of pipe tobacco.