Issue link: http://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/706092
48 SMOKESHOP August 2016 48 SMOKESHOP August 2016 email include the registration of prod- ucts; getting premarket authorization for products; paying additional fees imposed by the FDA for the right to sell legal prod- ucts; the requirement that ingredients be tested for potential harm; the placing of warning labels on packaging and adver- tising of products and registration with the FDA; and a warning that the FDA was to still come out with additional guidance in the future which will ban "characteriz- ing flavors" in all tobacco products. The email ended with the hopeful statement that the "IPCPR remains com- mitted to protecting pipe tobacco retail- ers and will pursue all options available through legislation and/or litigation where appropriate. As mentioned in the IPCPR comments to FDA, retailers who are simply blending two or more regu- lated pipe tobacco varietals should not be considered manufacturers." Regardless of such hopes, after my or- deal with the government I can assure you that all retailers will be considered manu- facturers once the government closes the noose around our collective necks. This last IPCPR statement is only im- portant since it is to be recognized as but a desire of the association, because in truth the association and its predecessors and even the motivations of the large cigarette manufactures have all been at odds with helping to keep the retailers of tobacco from being the target of discrimination and persecution. It saddens me, but I feel as if depending upon the alphabet soup of associations to really protect me is but self-deception. Waiting for them to pro- tect me is like hiding behind a piece of plastic wrap for protection in a gun fight. It is no more useful than hiding under my desk to protect myself in the case of nu- clear war. Such was the advice I got from the Federal government when I was in the sixth grade. I think it was then, when I was around 11, that I figured out that our government was not really very bright. It was not long after that I understood the ironic humor in the notion that govern- ment was here to help me to help myself. TTB Agents will tell you that they are there to help you help yourself, but they neglect to tell you that they are really at- tempting to put you out of business. They will tell you that you need do this or that or they will put you in jail, confiscate your property, and assail your wife's absolutely astounding, wonderful reputation. They will play good cop/bad cop and any oth- er game just to coerce you with law, gun, and badge to curtail your mail order busi- ness. In my case it cost me a $100,000 or better in lost business. Clearly, if you pay attention, you can hear the background chuckle in their voice when they say "we are only here to watch out for your wel- fare, here to help you to help yourself." After my business was attacked by the government, my asking for help was met with silence. As with my run for state Sen- ate and my lonely days without food or support over 20 years ago, my search for assistance, my seeking of help from many sources proved to me that I was to be left alone to fight for my own existence. For- tunately, this was a lesson I had learned earlier. Had the .3% population had such assistance, chances are that transgender people would not be able to go to the bath- room any place in America. G&B Tobacco Co., our Tennessee dis- tribution and wholesale company which allows us to bring out-of-state product into the state, is now also a manufactur- er of tobacco products. Thus we are fully vertically integrated as a manufacturer, wholesale distributor, and retailer—all backed by a government-issued manu- facturers TP number. What that means for my retail store in answering the ques- tion as to whether I am a manufacturer or a retailer is that I can say that I am all of what it is the government is "deeming" we should be, until it decides to "deem" otherwise. As complex as this is for me, it is very different from what the answer will be for those retailers who are about to be squashed between the two millstones that are the FDA and the TTB. Not that folks are beating down my door for advice, but it would be my sug- gestion that retailers quickly begin the process of becoming licensed tobacco manufacturers by going to the TTB Per- mits Online website and beginning the application process. Unless we are able to pull together to protect ourselves, we may as well get ready to endure the absurdly abusive regulations made up by a group of unregulated regulators. Ira T. Lapides, PhD, is the founder and owner of G&B Tobacco Co. Inc., and Gatlinburlier Tobacconist. REGULATION VIEWPOINT > > The tools of blending are now the mechanisms of manufacturing. > In answering the question as to whether I am a manufacturer or a retailer…I can say that I am all of what it is the government is "deeming" we should be, until it decides to "deem" otherwise.