In June 2022, the National Troopers Coalition issued the press release below opposing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's flavored cigar ban, citing burdens on Troopers' manpower and the risk to public safety.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Troopers Coalition Opposes FDA Flavored Cigar Ban, Citing Burdens on Troopers’ Manpower and Risk to Public Safety
June 15, 2022 – The National Troopers Coalition (NTC) opposes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) proposed product standard banning flavored cigars, as the rule is poised to add additional burdens on already short-staffed and overworked Troopers nationwide, which is in turn a threat to their safety and that of the public.
“The Coalition has long been on record urging the FDA to carefully consider whether flavored tobacco bans would add to the demands on our already strained law enforcement resources because of the strong likelihood that the rule would result in an increase in counterfeiting and illicit sales of cigars,” said NTC Chairman Thomas H. Mungeer.
This increase in bootlegging, against which state Troopers are the first line of defense, would come at a time when a longstanding staffing shortage of state Troopers is intensifying, leaving highway patrol departments unable to fulfill their current basic responsibilities.
Even with a nationwide ban, foreign-sourced products could be moved by highway across the country, again, adding to the burden of enforcement and further diverting state police from other public safety responsibilities and potentially adding new dangers for Troopers given the violent nature of smuggling organizations.
Mungeer questioned the rationale for the FDA’s proposed standard - which was stated as reducing youth initiation and usage of cigars - given that youth consumption is at a record low and that according to the most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey, the recent decline may be accelerating as a result of the national “Tobacco 21” law enacted late in 2019 and put into effect in 2020.
“More time is needed to see whether this legislation will in fact result in continued declines in underage usage,” Mungeer urged.
The National Troopers Coalition, serving approximately 44,000 members nationwide, is the only national organization that solely represents the interests of state Trooper and highway patrol associations. NTC helps our member state police associations gather and disseminate data for collective bargaining and legislative lobbying efforts; works to improve wages, benefits and working conditions for Troopers; and helps elevate standards, promote professionalism of policing and enhance police services to the public.