Get ready to un-subscribe to my blog. Have you finger on the “unfollow” button on Twitter. Because what I am about to say will probably equate me in some of your minds with the most evil people in history. People like Hitler, Stalin, and Kardashian.
But all I ask is the you keep an open, intellectually honest mind, and remember that I saved a litter of baby kittens from a house fire when I was eight.
I am suggesting that you try cigar smoking, because I think you will find it a very pleasurable, relaxing endeavor, that will provide you an occasional stress free “oasis” from this hectic world.
Yes, I hear what you are saying, “how can you recommend something so evil and dangerous?” Well to all you “health Über Alles” types out there, let me clarify what I mean.
For context, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life and only learned to enjoy cigar smoking in the last few years. I will never try to argue that hot smoke can be good for your body, but I will give you some facts that differentiate cigar smoking from cigarette smoking and which put it on the same level health wise (if not better), than other more politically correct habits.
A cigarette contains tobacco, like a cigar, but it also contains about fifteen different chemicals and additives. It’s wrapper is made of paper, which is treated with chemicals to prolong burn time. When lit, these chemicals produce various toxins and carcinogens which are inhaled into the lungs. Most cigarette smokers will chain smoke, sometimes putting away a pack or more a day.
A cigar by contrast is 100% tobacco. The filler, the binder, and the wrapper are all made of natural tobacco leaves, completely untreated by chemicals. The smoke from a cigar is only inhaled into the mouth, not the lungs. And most cigar smokers only occasionally smoke, usually for special occasions or events.
In terms of health, this puts a huge distinction between that of the average daily smoker, and the occasional cigar smoker.
In fact, you would be hard pressed to show that even smoking 2 to 4 cigars a month is as dangerous to ones health as regularly drinking alcohol, eating fast food, or having desert with your meals.
It’s all just politically correct perception. Remember that the next time you barbecue or grill something or eat in a restaurant where they do the same. Take a look at those grill marks on your food. Remember that they are charred meat and fat, basically a pure carcinogen, that you are putting in your body.
With the adverse health effects of occasionally smoking being minimal, the pleasure effects can be tremendous.
As a non-cigar smoker, you have to understand that smoking a cigar is a ritual. It begins by walking into a humidor at your local cigar shop to find the right size and strength cigar to fit your tastes. There are literally dozen of brands to choose from, from countries such as Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic, some of which have been in business for a hundred years or more.
Once chosen, you will have to carve out 30 minutes to an hour in which to enjoy your cigar. There is an art to cutting and lighting it, and each person will acquire their own way of holding and smoking a cigar.
More importantly, that time that you carve out to smoke will be some of the most relaxing of your day. When you are in the midst of the “ritual” and the smoking, the stress and worries of the world seem to melt away, even if for only a short time.
With the biggest killer (especially of men) out there being stress, I submit that the nominally adverse health effects an occasional cigar smoke brings are more than compensated for by the tremendous health benefits that the hour of “oasis time” will bring.
When coupled with a special occasion, or a group of friends, cigar smoking becomes a social event, one which will only add to your memories.
GREAT CIGAR SMOKERS
Let’s not forget that American Indians, those organically and shamanically pure indigenous casino owners basically invented the cigar. My inner spirit animal says that is good.
But you don’t have to go that far back to find the good company you will be in if you decide to try a cigar. Here are some famous people who enjoyed (or enjoy) cigar smoking
- Groucho Marx
- Mark Twain
- Winston Churchill
- Rudy Giuliani
- Bill Clinton
- Sigmund Freud
- Michael Jordan
- Jack Nicholson
- John F. Kennedy
…and the list goes on More Famous Cigar Smokers
….and you can see even more pictures of those whom have graced the cover of Cigar Aficionado here.
Lastly, I will leave you with this famous exchange by then President John F. Kennedy and his chief of staff Pierre Salinger (as told by Salinger), that shows how much JFK valued a good cigar.
Shortly after I entered the White House in 1961, a series of dramatic events occurred. In April 1961, the United States went through the disastrous error of the Bay of Pigs, in which Cuban exiles with the help of the U. S. government tried to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Several months later, the president called me into his office in the early evening.
“Pierre, I need some help,” he said solemnly.
“I’ll be glad to do anything I can, Mr. President,” I replied.
“I need a lot of cigars.”
“How many, Mr. President?”
“About 1,000 Petit Upmanns.”
I shuddered a bit, although I kept my reaction to myself. “And, when do you need them, Mr. President?”
I walked out of the office wondering if I would succeed. But since I was now a solid Cuban cigar smoker, I knew a lot of stores, and I worked on the problem late into the evening.
The next morning, I walked into my White House office at about 8 a.m., and the direct line from the president’s office was already ringing. He asked me to come in immediately.
“How did you do, Pierre?” he asked, as I walked through the door.
“Very well,” I answered. In fact, I’d gotten 1,200 cigars. Kennedy smiled, and opened up his desk. He took out a long paper which he immediately signed. It was the decree banning all Cuban products from the United States. Cuban cigars were now illegal in our country.
So tonight take my advice and ring in the New Year with some good friends, some goods drinks, and a fine cigar.