The possibility that the FDA may soon regulate cigars scares the heck out of cigar companies, and for good reasons. After all, would you want an outside regulator to limit what you can do with your own company AND cause the price of your products to go up? Of course not. But this is an article for cigar consumers, not cigar companies. Most cigar smokers whom I know support cigar companies and various cigar organizations, such as Cigar Rights of America, in the fight to carve out an exception for premium cigars in the FDA's quest to regulate all tobacco products. Unless you think that there is a problem with cigar companies producing unsafe or otherwise unacceptable products, then there is no reason to have additional regulations that would cause the price that we pay for our favorite smokes to skyrocket. In addition to price, there could also be new regulations that would further limit the way cigars are marketed and sold, and also limit a cigar maker's flexibility to create new blends. All of these things affect both cigar companies and cigar consumers.
However, there could be some merit in requiring cigar companies to provide more information about the products they sell. Some cigar smokers would appreciate knowing the levels of certain substances contained in the cigars they buy. For just one example, it might be nice to know how much nicotine is in a particular cigar, especially when buying for the first time. Just like alcoholic beverages are required to display the proof or percentage of alcohol on the label, maybe cigars should be required to disclose how much nicotine is contained in each stick. Some type of uniform measurement system is needed, so that cigars from different manufacturers can be reasonably compared by consumers.
Although most cigars do not have a high enough dose of nicotine to give a cigar smoker a kick (or even something more than just a kick) when the cigar is smoked properly, some cigars are definite power bombs that most beginners and occasional smokers would like to avoid. On the other hand, some hardcore cigar smokers might want to be able to easily identify the more potent sticks in order to avoid cigars that are just too mild for them. But how can anyone tell from the information currently available? I am not suggesting limits on nicotine content, only disclosure of the amounts, in accordance with a uniform industry-accepted measuring system.
Cigar and cigarette smoking machines, that test the levels of nicotine and other substances in those tobacco products, have been around for a while. There are at least some cigar manufacturers who already know (or should know) the levels of various substances in their cigars. This information should be made available to cigar consumers in a similar manner employed by the makers of alcoholic beverages, by putting labels right on the product itself. If cigar companies can "regulate" themselves voluntarily, then big brother would not have to force its own unreasonable regulations upon them in the name of protecting consumers, with little or no regard for the added costs.