The Las Vegas Big Smoke this past weekend reminded me of one of the enduring realities of being a cigar smoker. There is a huge community of us. And, it seems that everyone experiences our hobby, or passion—however you prefer to describe it—in much the same way. We have a lot like-minded folks out there who revel in the camaraderie that comes with a fine hand-rolled cigar.
I told the audience that in my personal world, I have cigar smokers around me all the time. My physician. My dentist. Even my car dealer. They are all cigar smokers who understand and share in some of the same pleasures that I have. It’s not that I’m out looking for cigar smokers among the people that I have to see for various reasons all the time. They are just there. And, I would bet that if you asked a few questions as you go about your daily business, you’d find some cigar smokers too. I remember a few years ago, I walked into a local hardware store with a jacket sporting a cigar brand logo. I had been in the store before, but there are other hardware stores around my community too. The man behind the counter spoke up and said, “I like that cigar a lot, but I usually smoke [another brand.]” Well, we talked cigars for a few minutes, and he helped find the items I needed that day. Now, when I have a choice of hardware stores, I always go back there.
If you ever wonder whether cigar smokers are all the same, all you need to do is come to a Big Smoke (and you can read all about what happened this weekend right here on this site, starting tomorrow.) You’ll find men and women from all walks of life, and from all over the country walking around sampling the cigars, the fine spirits that are being poured and the great food offered up by the local restaurants. It’s a true meeting place where all the pretensions of whatever one does outside the doors are stripped away, and people bond around their love of a good cigar. Some come dressed in costumes. Some are wearing suits. Some are in jeans and sneakers. But everyone is happy and smiling, and just having a good time.
Given the pressures that are being aligned against all tobacco use, it is important to remember that there are a lot of people who understand the pleasures of having a great cigar in their hand. We need to remind the politicians out there that cigar smoking is not just about tobacco, but about the community that is created by it. We’re not talking a community that’s built around some marketing driven obsession or addiction, but a personal choice that involves a natural product that creates an environment where people come together and enjoy themselves. It’s an idea that should be repeated whenever you have the opportunity, and whenever you get the chance, to help build that community.
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