The Last Puff
Tampa was once dubbed "Cigar City", but its last cigar factory is about to disappear, like Fidel Castro, the most iconic cigar smoker, did last week.
Among those most worried about the future of the city is Eric Newman, whose family has been making 31 brands of cigars, including Cuesta-Rey, Diamond Crown and La Unica, for three generations, reports The Washington Post.
For 121 years, the J.C. Newman Cigar Co. has produced millions of cigars and shipped them worldwide, while the rest of 149 surrounding factories shuttered their doors or outsourced overseas.
In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration will introduce new regulations that will raise the price of the cigars produced locally, adding difficulties to an already wounded industry. The new guidelines will require cigar manufacturers to get approval for new products, pay increased fees and add prominent warning labels. The FDA says the measures, which will be phased in over three years, are a matter of public safety and are meant to curb underage tobacco use. Before August, no federal law prohibited the sale of cigars, e-cigarettes or hookah tobacco to children under 18.