Lt. Gov. to weigh in on threatened Tampa cigar factory

July 9, 2014 

The factory, owned and operated by J.C. Newman Cigar Company – a four-generation, family-owned small business - is the last operating cigar factory in Tampa.

YBOR CITY -- It's a move with the best of intentions.

The idea is to keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors. But a new ruling by the Food and Drug Administration could have a big impact on an Ybor City cigar factory.

And not just any cigar factory.

The factory, owned and operated by J.C. Newman Cigar Company – a four-generation, family-owned small business - is the last operating cigar factory in Tampa.

Federal regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration to crackdown on e-cigarettes would impact cigar sales as well.

That likely would force the closure of the city's lone remaining cigar factory and leave 130 people without a job.

Today, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera will be in Tampa to visit the factory and speak with workers about what the state is doing to address the issue.

Gov. Rick Scott recently filed a request with the FDA to amend the new regulations.

According to partner newspaper the Tampa Bay Times, factory official want the facility to be included on an exemption list for high end cigar businesses. The list includes companies that make hand-made cigars and cigars that cost more than $10 each.

Meanwhile, there is a petition circulating online, Save Cigar City, to save the factory.

The deadline for signing the petition is Aug. 8.

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