New federal restrictions threatening Tampa hand rolled cigar company

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Cigars are certainly a Tampa Bay area tradition, but there’s now a possibility hand rolled favorites could be snuffed out.

Potential new federal restrictions regarding hand rolled cigars could put many, if not all, of Tampa Bay’s cigar companies out of business.

Yanko Macedo is worried about the possible changes.

“We are paying the FDA to put us out of business,” he said.

The price of getting government approval matching new regulations could force him to close his doors at Tabanero Cigars.

“The FDA wants us to submit each type of cigar that we make…and besides that, to test the cigar, they want one thousand cigars per size,” Macedo said.

As a company producing 34 different types of cigars and an application fee of $50,000 each, the future is unstable.

We also spoke with the Executive Editor of Cigar Aficionado Magazine, Dave Savona, who confirms it’s the family-owned business that will feel the biggest impact.

“Most of these companies are small, they can’t afford this, they can’t afford the delay. The FDA has been given control of the U.S. Tobacco Industry – including the cigar industry,” Savona explained.

Macedo agrees. “The reason why we have grown so fast is because we believe in the cultural history and we’re not here to sell you a souvenir, we’re here to brand Tampa. So, when people in Germany and Canada have access to the Cuban cigar brand…and try a Tampa cigar? They go ‘WOW!’”

Both Macedo and Savona tell us there are several ways to show your support of hand rolled cigars that including going online and writing to the FDA.

Follow Jenn Holloway on Facebook

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