FDA rules may jeopardize Black & Mild cigar name

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Plans to regulate cigars and other tobacco products the same as cigarettes may threaten one of the nation's top-selling cigar brands - Black & Mild.

Under a proposal by the Food and Drug Administration, cigar makers would have to remove descriptions such as "light," ''mild," ''medium" or "low" from their products.

Richmond-based Altria Group Inc., which owns Black & Mild maker John Middleton Co., is concerned that may force them to abandon or change the brand name.

In a filing made public Monday, the company argues the brand name isn't intended to convey that they're any less harmful and shouldn't be banned.

The FDA has not specifically weighed in the Black & Mild dilemma but is reviewing comments on its proposals, which also includes regulation of electronic cigarettes.

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