Commonwealth Brands, Inc. in Disbelief Over FDA

Mar 18, 2010, 17:21 ET from Commonwealth Brands, Inc.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Commonwealth Brands, Inc., the nation's fourth largest tobacco manufacturer is in disbelief over the FDA's publication of the 1996 rules in the Federal Register.

On March 18, 2010, the FDA published the reissued 1996 rules in the Federal Register. These rules seek to clarify and enforce marketing, advertising and promotion restrictions of tobacco products.

In an interview, Anthony Hemsley, Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs, stated,

"Commonwealth Brands, Inc. fully supports measures that are specifically aimed at preventing youth smoking. However, the Food and Drug Administration continues to ignore the very industry it is supposed to be regulating. Despite numerous requests for meetings and consultation, our legitimacy and expertise is sidelined."

"The only way to create meaningful and proportionate regulations is to involve the industry. Issuing rules that only serve to jeopardize a legal industry that contributes billions of dollars in excise taxes, employs thousands of people across the states and maintains a supply chain involving thousands of retailers and distributors makes absolutely no sense whatsoever."

Two of the rules' provisions have already been proven to be unconstitutional by the courts and a third that seeks to remove many tobacco brand names from the market is clearly also against the industry's constitutional rights.

Hemsley continues, "How many times must we resolve these constitutional issues in the courtroom? How much taxpayers' money must the FDA waste before a judge? And how long will it be before the FDA accepts the legal rights and input from the tobacco industry, which may well avoid unnecessary expenditure and time in court?"

"It is fundamentally wrong for the FDA to treat the tobacco industry differently from the other industries it regulates. Instead of forming a relationship to develop reasonable goals, the FDA appears solely interested in listening to vociferous, anti tobacco activists that have no concern for our adult consumers that purchase our legal products, or the viability or potential unintended consequences of what they are recommending."

Commonwealth Brands, Inc. is the fourth largest tobacco manufacturer in the United States. Its cigarettes include Davidoff, Sonoma, Montclair and USA Gold, one of the nation's best selling brands*. Its portfolio of fine tobaccos consists of the Premier, McClintock, Rave and Bali Shag brands.  Commonwealth Brands, Inc. is based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and employs over 900 people across 50 States. The Company is committed to its employees, its brands and its consumers.

*Source: Management Science Associates, Inc

SOURCE Commonwealth Brands, Inc.