If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gets its way, the long history of Tampa, Florida-made cigars will see its last chapter.
Officials have cracked down on the J.C. Newman Cigar Company — a 119-year-old factory, and the last major cigar producer in Tampa.
Though most of the company’s cigars are rolled in Central America and the Dominican Republic, vintage machines are still operated from the Tampa factory, which are used to make mixed-filler cigars, binders, and wrappers.
But because the machines don’t meet the FDA’s new criteria for premium cigars and paraphernalia, officials may force the factory to close for good. That thought makes Eric Newman fighting mad.
“Can you imagine taking the wine out of Napa Valley, or the French out of the French Quarter? Under the proposed regulations, that is exactly what the FDA will do to Tampa’s rich cigar history.”