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 New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco

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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:22 pm

I just posted this on SF in hope of getting a response for someone in the industry. Reposted here for your information:

A disturbing development on the horizon:

http://www.thefederalregister.com/d.p/2010-07-22-2010-17957

It is a long read, but well worth it. The proposals made by Altadis and others basically seem to want to classify 'pipe tobacco' as anything which is a goopy aromatic. As I read the comments submitted so far, blends like the straight McClelland VAs, GLP, C&D, etc. will likely not be classifiable as 'pipe tobacco' any longer. The proposal from the anti group (To***** Fr** Ki**) is the most disturbing.

I hope that Greg Pease or C. Tarler or another in the industry will be submitting comments to the agency, which can be made until Sept. 10 2010.
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gandalfpc

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:13 pm

Not as bad as you thought - only ONE of the criteria is needed...



"This commenter therefore proposes that processed tobacco in its finished form be classified as pipe tobacco only if it meets at least one of the following:

1) At least 18% of its weight consists of reducing sugars;
2) Moisture content exceeds 22% of its weight;
3) Its cut tobacco exceeds \1/8\ inch in width;
4) At least 10% of its weight consists of Latakia, Perique, or Black Tobacco (USDA Type 37) or a combination thereof; or
5) At least 20% of its weight consists of flavoring, casing, or other nontobacco content."
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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:23 pm

gandalfpc wrote:
Not as bad as you thought - only ONE of the criteria is needed...



"This commenter therefore proposes that processed tobacco in its finished form be classified as pipe tobacco only if it meets at least one of the following:

1) At least 18% of its weight consists of reducing sugars;
2) Moisture content exceeds 22% of its weight;
3) Its cut tobacco exceeds \1/8\ inch in width;
4) At least 10% of its weight consists of Latakia, Perique, or Black Tobacco (USDA Type 37) or a combination thereof; or
5) At least 20% of its weight consists of flavoring, casing, or other nontobacco content."

That is just one industry suggestion, of course. It is unclear what the final outcome will be. However - and this is where I would like to hear from an industry person - there seems to me to be a lot of problems with, for example, the above five criteria when I think about certain McClelland, GLP, or C&D ribbon cut blends which do not contain much, or any Latakia or Perique, or indeed blends which are Burley based, etc.

This worries me, a lot.

I hope that both McClelland and C&D will weigh in on the process, rather than just Altadis and other big concerns.
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fmw

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:33 pm

EDIT: When I submitted this I noticed Gandalfpc made the exact same point and posted the same quote. A few notes, though:

22% moisture seems a bit high (GLP writes about preferring ~12% moisture). Maybe someone more knowledgeable could weigh in on the "reduced sugar" content of pipe tobacco? I suppose either that or the cut size is supposed to include straight virginia and burley pipe tobacco, although I'm a bit worried about burley because it seems to contain less sugar.
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Hermit

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:39 pm

Sounds complicated.
Would Union Square meet any of those criteria?
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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:42 pm

fmw wrote:
EDIT: When I submitted this I noticed Gandalfpc made the exact same point and posted the same quote. A few notes, though:

22% moisture seems a bit high (GLP writes about preferring ~12% moisture). Maybe someone more knowledgeable could weigh in on the "reduced sugar" content of pipe tobacco? I suppose either that or the cut size is supposed to include straight virginia and burley pipe tobacco, although I'm a bit worried about burley because it seems to contain less sugar.

Sure, and once again that is just one industry proposal. The federal agency will make the final rule on the basis of - at least in theory - the public comments submitted. That is why I hope to get some clarification on the matter from the producers of the 'straight virginias' and 'burleys', and everything else that is not heavily sauced and drenched in PG. That is to say the 'artisan blends' which are a high percentage of what most of us hobbyists smoke the most of (McClelland, C&D, etc. - heck, even the 'natural' Euro blends made by SG, GH, K&K, Orlik, etc., etc.).
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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:43 pm

Hermit wrote:
Sounds complicated.
Would Union Square meet any of those criteria?

Who knows. I hope Greg will see this thread and weigh in (or maybe one of us should PM him or send him an email?).

[edit: done]


Last edited by Kapnismologist on Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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gandalfpc

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:46 pm

The 1/8 inch cut should handle most blends, but shag is in the sights
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Hermit

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:51 pm

gandalfpc wrote:
The 1/8 inch cut should handle most blends, but shag is in the sights

Damn, this is some stupid shit.
Oh yeah, it's the Gubmint. Neutral
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Justpipes
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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:12 pm

Maybe one of our resident gooberment/loyalist workers can give us some insight into this line of thinking.
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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:37 pm

In this same regard, it was interesting to see McClelland's new labeling responding to the temporary rule introduced last year:

http://www.pipeshowonline.net/McClelland_NewLabel.php

I am curious to see what the McNeil's do in response to this latest round.
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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:43 pm

gandalfpc wrote:
The 1/8 inch cut should handle most blends, but shag is in the sights

Yes, but see this comment...

In a comment to Notice No. 99 (74 FR 48687), Extension of Package UseUp Rule for RollYourOwn Tobacco and Pipe Tobacco, the consumer organization Campaign for TobaccoFree Kids states that the proposed packaging regulations do not do enough to prevent the mislabeling of rollyourown tobacco as pipe tobacco. It urges TTB to establish clear criteria to distinguish between those types of tobacco that may be labeled as pipe tobacco and those that may not. The group suggests that one possibility is to require that any loose tobacco consisting primarily of fluecured or burley tobacco be labeled and taxed as roll yourown tobacco.

And this from the folks who provided the numbers for the whole (incorrect) RYO-manufactured cigarette weight equivalency in the first place. which upped the fed. excise tax on RYO to over $24 per pound. That particular lobbying group is the worst of the worst of the worst ... but I digress.
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:00 am

gandalfpc wrote:
Not as bad as you thought - only ONE of the criteria is needed...



"This commenter therefore proposes that processed tobacco in its finished form be classified as pipe tobacco only if it meets at least one of the following:

1) At least 18% of its weight consists of reducing sugars;
2) Moisture content exceeds 22% of its weight;
3) Its cut tobacco exceeds \1/8\ inch in width;
4) At least 10% of its weight consists of Latakia, Perique, or Black Tobacco (USDA Type 37) or a combination thereof; or
5) At least 20% of its weight consists of flavoring, casing, or other nontobacco content."

It would seem that by this criteria just selling wetter tobacco will be enough to be called pipe tobacco. I think the RYO guys will pick up on that in a heartbeat and therefore not be a definitive solution. Perhaps a COMBINATION of at least two points which always would include point #3 as a minimum requirement. In other words, that wet, sugary, or heavily cased it is always over 1/8 inch wide. That would allow for pure Virginia or Burley pipe tobaccos to be still classified as such. Thicker cuts don't make for great cigarettes....
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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:02 am

Justpipes wrote:
Maybe one of our resident gooberment/loyalist workers can give us some insight into this line of thinking.

As far as government thinking goes the world over JP, ........... there is just no such thing! Evil or Very Mad
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glpease
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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:13 am

gandalfpc wrote:
Not as bad as you thought - only ONE of the criteria is needed...



"This commenter therefore proposes that processed tobacco in its finished form be classified as pipe tobacco only if it meets at least one of the following:

1) At least 18% of its weight consists of reducing sugars;
2) Moisture content exceeds 22% of its weight;
3) Its cut tobacco exceeds \1/8\ inch in width;
4) At least 10% of its weight consists of Latakia, Perique, or Black Tobacco (USDA Type 37) or a combination thereof; or
5) At least 20% of its weight consists of flavoring, casing, or other nontobacco content."

I haven't had time to read the reference, but this could be quite disturbing. I'm up to my eyeballs in three dozen things, but I can address these few points briefly.

1) Burleys contain almost no reducing sugars, though they are generally cased, so they'd generally fly through. But, even many VAs have sugar contents lower than 18%. Orientals and Latakia are very low, so the typical Latakia blend will certainly fall below 18% reducing sugars, unless it's cased. Great. That leaves room for SOME of the producers, but certainly not me.

2) At 22% moisture content, tobacco is quite damp. At that level, it will clump, burn poorly, and deliver a lot of hot water vapour in the smokestream. And, at that moisture level, the likelihood of mold is increased unless steps are taken to prevent it. So, this means MORE chemicals in our tobaccos. Not my idea of good policy.

3) Cut? Most of my blends are between 16/inch and 10/inch. So, what, only broad cut tobaccos qualify as pipe tobaccos? That leaves out MOST of what's produced for the pipe. Very few tobaccos are 8-cut or broader.

4) This is just asinine. A straight, uncased VA, at a proper 13-18% moisture content, cut 10/inch, without "black tobaccos" would not be considered a pipe tobacco. Union Square, therefore, would not be considered a pipe tobacco.

5) Do I really need to mention the stupidity of lobbying for more adulterants in our tobaccos? Some of us work hard to keep these things OUT of our blends.

I don't know who proposed this, but I suspect it's probably quite self-serving. Could it be a big company, wanting to drive the boutique producers out of the waters of competition?

I'll look further into it when I have a chance.
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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:21 am

Just scanned it. I probably shouldn't have been quite so brusque in my tone regarding the "commenter," who also proposed that, "TTB notes that this commenter also proposes that TTB take into consideration preexisting or established brands for pipe tobacco and rollyourown tobacco. The commenter states that prior to the introduction of the relevant tobacco tax legislation in Congress in January 2009, there were no ``crossover brands'', that is, ``brands associated with both pipe tobacco and rollyourown tobacco.'' The commenter therefore urged TTB to deem any processed tobacco regularly sold under a preexisting brand name, trade name, or trademark predominantly associated with rollyourown tobacco, prior to January 1, 2009, as rollyourown tobacco. Similarly, any processed tobacco regularly sold under a pre-existing brand name, trade name, or trademark predominantly associated with pipe tobacco prior to January 1, 2009, should be deemed pipe tobacco."

So, any pipe tobacco brand extant in 2009 would be grandfathered in if this were to go through. What it does not address is whether or not new products from extant brands would classified similarly. The language is ambiguous.

I hate pencil pushing bureaucrats. Deeply. Their ONLY purpose on this earth is to justify their own existence through making the lives of others difficult. There's a small Island in the Bikini Atoll that would be an appropriate relocation spot for them.
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Hermit

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:05 am

glpease wrote:
Just scanned it. I probably shouldn't have been quite so brusque in my tone regarding the "commenter,"...

Mebbie so. It's still asinine. Twisted Evil
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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:10 am

Thank you so much for the comments Greg. It is very helpful indeed to get a sense of what may be at stake here as things stand. I had a feeling that the proposal comments were very clearly construed so as to exclude the only pipe tobacco blends worth smoking. If Union Square or Chelsea Morning are not superlative examples of pipe tobacco, then I do not know what is.
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Natch

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:21 pm

Justpipes wrote:
Maybe one of our resident gooberment/loyalist workers can give us some insight into this line of thinking.

Well, I might be a "gooberment/loyalist", as I teach at a State institution and my salary comes from Arkansas State taxes, tuition, and some level (small) of federal funding, but I think it's kind of silly to presume that any of the millions of government employees at any level in the U.S. can explain this proposed regulation, and we certainly can't believe they all proposed or support it. Although our government doesn't always operate the way I would like it to (and when I'm elected King of the Country, boy will things change! Laughing ) but I guess I am a loyalist as I buy into that perhaps silly and arcane idea of "by the people, for the people". In some cases, just because "we" are not the majority or able to get our way doesn't make the government bad.

But I digress to a rubber room topic. My apologizes,

Natch

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Doc Manhattan

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:06 pm

I have a strong suspicion that this (like the other tobacco reclassification/tariff laws) is going on with the blessing of Big Tobacco, who stand the most to gain from cracking down on RYO tobaccos. Its a total win-win for them: driving more of the cigarette market to their ready-made brands, while appearing supportive of "enhanced tobacco regulation.)

When this shakes out, mark my words, it won't burden anything made by RJR (dba Lane) nor PM-Altria (dba Middleton.)

How did an anti-tobacco organization suddenly become such "experts" on this incredibly obscure subject? If I had a hygrometer or a glycometer handy, I'd bet that those wildly arbitrary standards for "pipe tobacco" very closely match those of, say, a certain Prince or Captain. But I don't, so just consider me a conspiracy theorist.
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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:41 pm

Doc Manhattan wrote:
I have a strong suspicion that this (like the other tobacco reclassification/tariff laws) is going on with the blessing of Big Tobacco ... so just consider me a conspiracy theorist.

When it is so transparent, I do not think it is much of a conspiracy! And when you add into the mix horrible lobbying organizations such as TFK (who in my opinion are the worst of the worst amongst the antis in terms of promoting dubious half-truths, poor arguments, and such in support of their 100% prohibition agenda), it approaches the absurd.

Let us hope the small American (and European for that matter) blenders can weather this storm. I know it sounds grim, but I would not be surprised in the least if this time next year the shelves are bare of anything made by the small boutique blenders we all know and love. Of course I hope that will not be the case.

Remember there is also the tobacco tax parity act still looming as well.

I think I am done commenting on this for now, but will keep as close a watch as possible on how things proceed from here.
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Kapnismologist

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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:37 pm

Well, it has been picked up; see here:

http://pipesmagazine.com/blog/pipe-tobacco-reviews/pipe-tobacco-vs-roll-your-own-whats-the-definition/

The comments by Greg and C. Tarler are well taken, but still I worry given that goop-master Altadis is presented as leading the charge here.
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Justpipes
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PostSubject: Re: New Federal Classification of Pipe Tobacco   Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:47 pm

Natch wrote:
Justpipes wrote:
Maybe one of our resident gooberment/loyalist workers can give us some insight into this line of thinking.

Well, I might be a "gooberment/loyalist", as I teach at a State institution and my salary comes from Arkansas State taxes, tuition, and some level (small) of federal funding, but I think it's kind of silly to presume that any of the millions of government employees at any level in the U.S. can explain this proposed regulation, and we certainly can't believe they all proposed or support it. Although our government doesn't always operate the way I would like it to (and when I'm elected King of the Country, boy will things change! Laughing ) but I guess I am a loyalist as I buy into that perhaps silly and arcane idea of "by the people, for the people". In some cases, just because "we" are not the majority or able to get our way doesn't make the government bad.

But I digress to a rubber room topic. My apologizes,

Natch


I completely understand Natch. While I do work for a private company, it is through a government contract.
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