Temple Terrace, Florida – The Food and Drug Administration has proposed new rules for the cigar industry that would put it on par with the cigarette industry.
"A lot of the smaller retail establishments or shops or retailers or whatever – they're going to be hit with these regulations," said Ira Lockhart, with Cigar Castle in Temple Terrace.
Part of the proposal calls for manufacturers to pay the FDA to be regulated, be inspected and provide detailed accounts of their ingredients.
For their part, cigar lovers argue that their industry is different than cigarettes because of what it does not use in its products.
"Cigars are natural tobacco they don't have the additives that cigarettes do," Lockhart said.
The larger concern for retailers like Cigar Castle is that if manufacturers are forced to pay regulators, that cost would be passed on to them and in turn to customers.
The FDA is asking for public opinion until Aug. 8 on whether premium hand rolled cigars rolled with a tobacco leaf should be exempt from agency oversight.
The FDA wants to regulate cigars the same way it does with cigarettes.