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Out of the Humidor

The Editors
From the Print Edition:
Orlando Hernandez, Mar/Apr 99

(continued from page 6)

Larry was talking about Las Cabrillas. I'm sharing one now with my wife of 27 years. She likes to light them for me. A cigar is like a woman, my friends: you take care of them and they will take care of you.

Yes, the times are changing. But there's more times out there, and many more cigars. The adventure is in the hunt. So sit back, let your women light your cigars, and enjoy both.

Jeff Z. Holand
Lido Beach, New York

* * *

Dear Marvin,

Well, the health police are at it again. Last week, a major weekly newsmagazine on its cover portrayed cigar smoking negatively. Recently, a well-known newspaper advice columnist, citing catastrophic health hazards, saw fit to bemoan the rising popularity of cigar smoking. These are but a few examples of what is a growing sentiment against cigar smokers, no doubt caused from the ongoing fervor against the cigarette industry.

As a responsible adult who is conscious of his health and as a licensed engineer with a graduate degree in environmental engineering who enjoys an occasional cigar, I am insulted by the pervasive "junk science" publicizing health impacts associated with cigar smoking.

Cigar Aficionado recently raised excellent questions and valid points relating to junk science on its online home page that goes beyond what skeptics may think is a smug attempt to counter negativism. As one who takes pride in his health by exercising regularly and eating sensibly (heck, I wonder how many cigar antagonists know their own blood pressure and cholesterol levels?), defending cigar smoking may appear to be a contradiction. I would be the first to admit that cigar smoking is not without health hazards; however, I believe that putting this issue into a proper perspective is important.

I become infuriated when a magazine writer or newspaper columnist, in their powerful ability to reach a wide readership, are quick to denounce cigar smoking by citing studies or reports (many of which may be cigarette-based), evidently with little or no technical comprehension of the very data they claim to understand. To my mind, these writers have no business painting all cigar smokers with a broad stroke if they are unable to provide even simple statistical reference points so that the reader may render an informed, educated opinion for him/herself.

Many questions come to my mind when someone points to a study or data that have serious implications and risks, alarming my sensibilities, but is unable to produce concrete data: What type of distribution was used to establish the population of cigar smokers? What was the sampling size and confidence interval of cigar smokers that showed a high incidence of oral cancer? What is meant by high? What was the frequency of smoking by those cigar smokers that contracted oral and other types of cancers?

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