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Regulations threaten the future of J.C. Newman Cigar Co.

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Tampa, Florida -- Ybor City's only operating cigar factory is in jeopardy of closing down.

Cigar shops have lined the streets of Ybor City for centuries, and the once-booming industry earned Tampa the nickname "Cigar City."

There were once 150 cigar factories in Tampa, but J.C. Newman Cigar Co. is the only one still in operation today. The others couldn't survive and if new regulations from the Food and Drug Administration kick in, J.C. Newman's fears it will have to shut its doors too.

"If that went through, it'd be impossible for us to introduce a new product," said Eric Newman, owner J.C. Newman Cigar Co.

Part of the proposal would require the FDA to monitor, inspect, and provide detailed lists of their ingredients, similar to how the cigarette industry is regulated. But the cost of all of this would fall on the manufacturer.

"These regulations would protect big business and force small businesses like the Newmans out," said Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Ybor city's only cigar operating cigar factory is in jeopardy of closing down.

Lopez-Cantera made a stop through Tampa on Wednesday, expressing his stance against the proposal, claiming that there's a better way.

"Work with gentleman like the ones that are standing next to me," said Lopez-Cantera." Maybe figure out a way to balance the safety, but also their concerns."

If cigar makers are forced to pay regulators, that cost would be passed on retailers, and ultimately the customer.

If you would like to weigh in and take action to help save J.C. Newman Cigar Co. visit savecigarcity.com.

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