The FDA's New Age Verification Requirements

The Food and Drug Administration’s “deeming rule” largely focuses on new requirements for age verification.  New guidelines have been released in order to help retailers more consistently and thoroughly ensure that cigars, pipes, and other tobacco products or components are not being sold to any individual under the age of 18 years old.  Below, is a list of the age requirements which the FDA will continue routinely monitoring with unannounced retail store inspections. 

  • For any individual under the age of 26, age must be verified by means of photo identification. 
  • In a facility where cigars are being purchased via a vending machine or any other electronic or mechanical device, the age of each person must be verified as over 18 before they may enter the facility or venue.
  • The sale of all covered products, including a pipe, considered a component in the consumption of tobacco, is subject to the same age and verification requirements.

Full compliance with these new guidelines is very important.  Please feel free to reach out to IPCPR with any questions or concerns regarding the new rule.  Additionally, please notify IPCPR if you have any interactions with the FDA regarding matters of age verification or otherwise.

IPCPR President's Letter to Membership

IPCPR Member:

The 84th Annual Convention and International Trade Show this summer in Las Vegas is a critical opportunity for retail tobacconists and manufacturers to learn about navigating regulation. IPCPR will host a series of educational seminars to examine the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulation of tobacco products and enhance your understanding of key compliance issues. This forum will also bring together legal experts and industry representatives to discuss future legislative and legal strategies to protect the trade.   IPCPR this year is more important than ever.  The great news is that the floor is nearly sold out and retailer attendance is running 22% ahead year over year as of June 3rd.

As you finalize plans for your trip to Las Vegas, please consider the following important educational opportunities:

  • Manufacturer Seminar/The FDA, July 24 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Living with the FDA – A Seminar for Retailers: Sunday, July 24 from 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Government Affairs Strategy and Reception: Sunday, July 24 from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
  • State Association Breakfast: Tuesday, July 26 from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m.

In addition, you are invited to visit the IPCPR team at the government affairs booth on the trade show floor. Here you will learn about current legislative and regulatory challenges facing the industry, and how you can make a difference.

At the time of this writing there are still many aspects of the deeming rule that require further clarification. The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) is working to get firm, conclusive facts and interpretations to provide reliable information.  For our trade show, it is business as usual.  While we are working diligently on options for a regulatory, legislative or eventual legal fix, most of the deeming rule requirements do not kick in for 18 months or more.  In fact, most provisions affect manufacturing with retail being less affected.
Our staff is here to advise you during this changing regulatory climate. You will be selling cigars one year from now, three years from now, and ten years from now.  The industry must adapt to a new regulatory scheme.  I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the educational opportunities at the trade show that will help you operate your business in our new universe.

I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.


Craig Cass, President
International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association

State Board of Equalization News Release

For Immediate Release

May 27, 2016

NR 53-16-G

Contact: Office of Public Affairs


New Law Raises Licensing Fees for Cigarettes and Tobacco Products

Sacramento – Sellers of cigarettes and tobacco products will see their licensing fees increase starting June 9, 2016. The increased fees are a result of Assembly Bill x2 11, which was signed into law on May 4 and increases the Cigarette and Tobacco Products License application and renewal fees for retailers, wholesalers, and distributors to provide additional funding for cigarette and tobacco products tax compliance. This new law is effective the same day that the age for purchasing cigarettes and tobacco products raises from 18 to 21 years old. License applications can be submitted through the Board of Equalization’s (BOE) online registration system.

The BOE administers a statewide program to license cigarette and tobacco products manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers (Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003). Currently, retailers pay a one-time licensing fee of $100 per location where these products are sold. The new law will require them to pay $265 annually for each location. Distributors and wholesalers currently pay $1,000 per calendar year per location. The new law will require them to pay $1,200 per calendar year per location.

Listed below are the fees that go into effect on June 9, 2016 for all new licenses.

License Type

Old Application Fee

(On or before June 8, 2016)

New Application Fee

(On or After June 9, 2016)

Retailer $100 per location $265 per location
Wholesaler/Distributor $1,000 per location $1,200 per location

Beginning January 1, 2017, the new law also imposes an annual renewal fee of $265 for retailer licenses and increases the wholesaler and distributor license annual renewal fee to $1,200. The new renewal fee amounts are shown below.

License Type

Old Renewal Fee

(On or before December 31, 2016)

New Renewal Fee

(On or After January 1, 2017)

Retailer $0 $265 per location per year
Wholesaler/Distributor $1,000 per location per calendar year $1,200 per location per calendar year

WSJ Article on State of Cuban Tobacco Production

Smoked: Cuba's Cigar Industry Isn't Ready for Its American Moment

SAN LUIS, Cuba-The fertile soil here in the Pinar del Río valley has long produced a richly flavored, slow-burning tobacco that is, without exaggeration, the envy of the world. Some of Cuba's best-paid workers roll the cured leaves by hand into cigars carrying the names Cohiba and Montecristo and Partagás, luxury brands as coveted by aficionados as the sparkling wines of Champagne or the single malt whiskies of Scotland.