CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A local business owner is worried about a new FDA proposal that could place a hefty financial burden on the cigar industry.
Tom Kakadelis owns Outland Gift & Cigar in Charlotte. He said the new proposal could force local shops to close their doors for good.
"We are at the mercy of new federal regulations all the time, which then constrain the small businesses and they are not able to employ people," Kakadelis said.
According to the FDA, in 2014, it proposed an historic new rule that would extend the agency's authority to regulate additional products that meet the legal definition of a tobacco product, such as electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, certain dissolvables that are not "smokeless tobacco," nicotine gels, and water pipe tobacco.
Part of the new regulations would require cigar manufacturers to report and submit product and ingredient listings. The new regulations also include new health warning label rules.
The FDA does not deny that the new regulations could place a serious financial burden on the cigar industry.
"FDA recognizes that some of the proposals...might impose significant costs on certain manufacturers," the proposal reads. "Including the requirement to register and list products and the requirement for cigar manufacturers to randomly distribute and rotate warning statements on packages and advertisements."
The FDA justified the costs in a statement on its website, saying "Despite decades of efforts to reduce tobacco use, it continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States."
Kakadelis says smoking cigars is a personal decision that should be made by responsible adults instead of over-reaching government officials.
"When we live in a free society, where adults are free to make decisions that you and I might not think are very good, we still live with them because we are a free society," Kakadelis said. "Now if we don't want a free society then we can prevent a lot of things. We can take away tobacco and create an underground or black market. Well, that is not what we want."
Government officials will not speculate on when the FDA will approve or reject the new proposals.