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We Smoke Cigars, What's It To Ya?

Updated on November 23, 2013
A good cigar and Cognac - what could be better?
A good cigar and Cognac - what could be better?
Speaks for Itself!
Speaks for Itself!

When I was in my teens, I started smoking cigarettes, very light, menthol ones at first, eventually “graduating” to non-filters (Lucky Strikes, of course, remember those?) I almost never smoked more than a pack a day and, in my early thirties, I quit. Well, not quite, because I occasionally “bummed” a cigarette off of other smokers. In my late teens, I also developed a taste for cigars, though I did not smoke a premium cigar until many years later. Now, I enjoy a few cigars a week, handmade of course. These days, the tobacco industry is under attack and has been for quite a while. While cigarettes have been the target of government regulations, anti-smoking crusades, and the like, apparently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now eyeballing cigars. More on that later.

Over the last 20 years or so, I have had a few “misadventures” due to my cigar habit, including a few wrinkled noses and more than a few negative comments. One cigar-smoking friend of mine got so fed up with the insults, he actually threw a chair out of the second floor window of a restaurant! Needless to say, he didn’t dine there again. The best story however concerns an evening in a restaurant outside Dayton, Ohio where I lived for a few years. I had been out on the West Coast on a business trip and, when I got home, I was hungry so I went to a place then called the Lincoln Park Grille, a classy place where I hung out on occasion. Now the Grille was “cigar-friendly.” In fact, there was a small humidor on one end of the large, rectangular bar. Being in the middle of the week, I expected to be able to sit at the bar, order a steak and eat unmolested. That night, however, they were auditioning a new band so the bar was packed. I managed to get in next to friend of mine (who was smoking a cigarette) and I ordered something to eat. On the other side of the bar, a guy was smoking a cigar. After I ate, I lit one up as well. So far so good.

Three young ladies walked in, sat on the other side of the bar, and ordered drinks. A few minutes later, the bartender, whom I new well, came over to me and said “Alex, do me a favor and walk over behind those girls and puff away for a few minutes.” I asked why and he told me that the girls were complaining about the cigar smoke. I got a kick out of his request but I refrained from going over there - no use in irritating people just for laughs. Well, a few minutes later, one of the women started holding a handkerchief over her mouth, presumably because of the cigar smoke. When she took a drink, she lowered the hanky, when she put the drink down, up went the hanky to her mouth. I watched this with amusement for a few minutes as I puffed in my stogie - hanky down, drink in, drink down, hanky up. A few minutes later, I was astounded at what she did - she lit a cigarette! Now it was hanky down, cigarette in, cigarette out, drink in, drink down, hanky back up, etc. It was all I could do to keep from falling off my bar stool I was laughing so hard! I considered walking over there and complaining about the cigarette smoke but I decided not to. True story.

Humorous incidents aside, the Food and Drug Administration in its infinite wisdom now has the power to practically destroy the premium cigar industry. (Note - “premium cigars” refers to high quality, handmade cigars, not the cheap cigars sold in drug stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, etc.) Apparently something called the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,” signed into law 2009, gave the FDA unprecedented power to regulate the production and marketing of tobacco, including the curtailment of advertising. There is the possibility that cigars may have to be sold from behind the counter, ending walk-in humidors. (Believe me, when a cigar smoker walks into a humidor filled with boxes of premium cigars, he’s like a kid in a candy store!) There is also the possibility of stopping mail-order and internet sales of cigars (I get most of my cigars by mail-order). Thankfully, there is now the "Traditional Cigar Manufacturing & Small Business Preservation Act," (H.R. 1639 in Congress and S.1461 in the Senate) which I hope will pass and keep these things from happening. (Cigar smokers - write your congressmen and senators and tell them to support these bills!)

The stories of cigar smokers being harassed are legion, and I’ve experienced some of it. Look, we only smoke where smoking is allowed and we DON’T smoke to annoy anyone. We smoke for the sheer pleasure of it. Cigars contain a much higher grade of tobacco than the “filler” used in cigarettes and (most of us) do not inhale so the health risks are lessened. We just want to be left alone!

Well, I guess I had my say, so I think I will sit back, and light up a Padron 1964 Aniversario Exclusivo Maduro Robusto - pure heaven! Good smoking, everyone!

Cigar Rights of America

For those of you interested, I'm adding a link the webpage of the "Cigar Rights of America" where you can find information about efforts to curtail cigar smoking. Use the drop down menu to select your state: http://www.cigarrights.org/

Update - November 2013

"The California town of San Rafael, Breitbart news reports today, has enacted a new ordinance that will ban smoking in residences with shared walls, such as apartment buildings and condominiums. The ban will apply both to those who rent such residential units as well as those who own them within the city.

"Breitbart news reports, the ordinance 'covers any multi-family residence with three or more units, including condominiums, co-ops and apartments. The ban took effect Nov. 14.'” (Examiner.com)

The "nanny state" strikes again - this is intrusive, and basically tyrannical. So how will they enforce this? Can't you see it? OPEN THE DOOR - SMOKE POLICE! GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR! OKAY, WHERE ARE THE CIGARETTES? I'll bet the people who passed this ridiculous law sit in THEIR condos and smoke pot, lousy arrogant SOBs.

Two of the author's humidors - 70 degree and 70% humidity at all times!
Two of the author's humidors - 70 degree and 70% humidity at all times!

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    • AlexDrinkH2O profile image
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      AlexDrinkH2O 5 years ago from Southern New England, USA

      I noticed a "content warning" was placed on this hub today stating this hub may "promote the sale of tobacco" - I'm not promoting the sale of anything (except my books - see some of my other hubs) - I am just commenting on the pleasure of smoking cigars and how we cigar smokers want to be able to pursue our hobby unmolested and unregulated!

    • AlexDrinkH2O profile image
      Author

      AlexDrinkH2O 5 years ago from Southern New England, USA

      Good for you Vincent!!!

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 5 years ago

      A man after my own heart. I love to smoke cigars on occasion, not as frequent as you, but certainly enjoy them now and then. I often take premium cigars with me when I go camping or fishing, love to puff in the great outdoors. I am not a cigarette smoker and never have been, but a cigar now and then can't be beaten.

      Here is my true story, I was on a business trip in Toronto. Staying at a quality hotel, visiting the bar one evening I brought along a favorite cigar to enjoy over a glass of my favorite cognac. I saw a gentleman smoking a pipe in the corner so I immediately assumed there would be no problem lighting up my cigar.

      When my drink was placed in front of me, I pulled my cigar from it's case and thumbed my lighter as the flame lit the right end:-) I started to puff and enjoy it's flavor when the manager walked up and politely asked if I could please put it out as there was no smoking of cigars permitted and a sign was placed just near the bar area indicating so.

      I said well heck, why is that gentleman smoking a pipe then? He politely said pipes were permitted. I said WHAT? and cigars are not, go figure. I raised a stink and believe me it wasn't from the pleasant aroma of my butted cigar. I stormed out, an hour later a phone call to my room from the bar manager offering his apologies.

      He was told to call me and offer me a free dinner and a bottle of their finest wine in the main dining room that evening. A way of telling me they were sorry for asking me to butt out my cigar. I was happy to receive the dinner, but when I got back home I wrote a moving letter to the hotel in question. They replied with another apology but said they could not change their new policy on disallowing the smoking of cigars. Needless to say I changed my hotel plans and my business was taken elsewhere. So I have empathy when discrimination is shown to us cigar smokers over cigarette and pipe smokers. Thank you for sharing your experience, now go light one up and enjoy.