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Out of the Humidor

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As the signs imposed unreasonable restrictions on my rights, I went to a corner of the pool, relaxed and lit my cigar. Within a few minutes, the lifeguard came over and stated, "No smoking allowed." I then said, "I have been coming to this hotel for eight years. I guess I am considered a good customer, and I will not put up with ridiculous anti-smoking signs." I continued: "You can call the police, you can call security, you can call the manager. I am not putting out my cigar."
Whereupon this dutiful lifeguard picked up the phone, and within a half-hour a burly security guard came walking down from the hotel to the pool and said, "You will have to put that cigar out. No smoking is allowed." I retorted, "Why are there signs posted by an outdoor pool? I have been coming to this hotel ... etc., etc." He then replied: "Maryland has a law against smoking by pools." I said, "Show me the law, and I'll put out my cigar, check out of this hotel and never come back again." I waited all day, continuing to smoke cigars, and no one came and showed me the law.
On my own, I called the State of Maryland Department of Health and the city (where the hotel is located) health department, and neither one had any laws on the books about prohibiting smoking in outdoor areas, in or out of a pool.
The next day, I retrieved my isolated corner at the pool and continued to smoke a cigar. Again, the lifeguard came, and again I told her to call the police, security, call whomever she wanted. This time, no one came.
On the third day of my stay, the food manager of the hotel, whom I became friendly with over the course of my stay at this hotel, came down to the pool and sat down alongside me. I said to him, "Bob (not his real name), don't tell me they sent you down here to tell me to put out my cigar?" His answer was, "No, they didn't, but I already know about the problem, the manager knows about the problem and pretty soon, if you continue to smoke your cigar, the whole world will know about the problem." I said to him, "Don't you think it's ridiculous to post no-smoking signs outdoors?" He said, very quietly, "If I were you, I would pay no attention and continue to smoke my cigar." I agreed with him and, after a long conversation with him on other subjects, he went about his business.
When I got back to my office in Long Island, I had my secretary find out who owned this hotel and I wrote the owners a letter detailing my dissatisfaction. Within a short period of time I received a reply from the general manager of the holding company that owned this hotel and other hotels in nearby states. He stated that he would look into the and matter find out what happened.
In July I spent four days at the same hotel with my wife, my 19 son and his family.
When I arrived at the hotel (I usually check in first) I went to the pool and--as if a miracle had occurred--the signs were no longer posted. I then checked in and went to the pool and smoked my cigar in peace and quiet. Later that evening, I ran into "Bob" and asked him what happened to the no-smoking signs at the pool. He stated that the general manager came to the hotel, spoke to the manager of the hotel and, after inquiring about an outdoor smoking law, found out there was none and had the signs removed. "Bob" further stated that the general manager thought this was a ridiculous event and that he would send me a box of cigars.
Some time after my July stay, a small box of cigars arrived at my home with a little note apologizing for any inconvenience I might have had at this hotel. This hotel chain is one of the premier chains in the U.S. and it certainly lived up to its reputation with this gesture. The cigars were from the Canary Islands and very mild. (The person who purchased them obviously is not a cigar smoker.)
So you see, you can fight city hall and win and not be obnoxious about it!
Stanley Janovici
East Islip, New York
Editor's Response: Stanley, your spirit and tenacity are to be admired. On behalf of all cigar smokers, please enjoy a box of special cigars I am sending to you. You certainly symbolize the phrase "We shall overcome."

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Dear Marvin:
On this matter of second-hand smoke: When I was employed by the National Geographic Society I drove to my office each day through Rock Creek Park [in Washington, D.C.]. Cars often crawled bumper to bumper, our idling exhaust spreading an acrid blue pall over the morning. On the pedestrian path beside the road I would watch a steady stream of joggers pass by, their chests heaving as they took deep breaths of pollution-laden air in their pursuit of physical fitness and longevity. Yet I'm sure these same people would insist that I was risking their health if I were to light a Macanudo or Hoyo de Monterrey in their presence. So just who is blowing smoke here?
Keep up the good fight.
Bill O'Neill
Annapolis, Maryland

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Dear Marvin:
I took my wife (then girlfriend) Amy to Paris for the first time four Christmases ago. We were on the street at 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve, having decided we would spend the evening in our room at the Ritz with room service, Armagnac and a view of the Eiffel Tower, when she turned to me and asked, "Don't you want a cigar tonight?" That was it. I've been hers ever since.
Robert Bookman
Beverly Hills, California

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Dear Marvin:
I add my voice to the chorus of accolades for a magazine that caters to the tastes of a conspicuous minority. A well-to-do, high-achieving, stubborn minority, perhaps, but a minority after all.
I will not add my anecdotes to the litany of abuses to which cigar smokers are regularly subjected. Suffice it to say that in my 40 years of cigar smoking there are few rude remarks and acts which I have not experienced. So what? They have all been minor inconveniences next to the pleasure that cigar smoking has given me. My wife knows this is so. It was she who gave me my subscription last Christmas. I don't smoke in the house for her sake. Her allergy to scents is so acute that she hasn't worn perfume in years. Yet she is pleased when she sees my pleasure from smoking a good cigar, and she has never begrudged the small sums "gone up in smoke."
I wish you good fortune with CIGAR AFICIONADO. Your success will add to my pleasure.
Donald Altman
Culver City, California

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Dear Marvin:
I had recently returned from the Persian Gulf and was in my office at Camp Pendleton (California) enjoying an Arturo Fuente Hemingway. A Sergeant Major (an avid nonsmoker) who worked in an adjoining office came in and announced: "lieutenant, you're going to have to smoke that somewhere else." Just as he was about to deliver the final assault on my smoking pleasure the battalion commander poked his head in the door. The Colonel interrupted him and said, "Hey Mike, that cigar smells great, can the Sergeant Major and I have one of those?" I said very tactfully, "No problem, sir, my humidor is always open to you and the Sergeant Major." As the C.O. was walking out I seized my opportunity to attack by asking, "Sir, you don't mind if I smoke in the building, do you?" The Colonel replied, "Hell no! It gives the place character." Hearing this the Sergeant Major simply executed a right face and promptly marched out behind the Colonel. I was never bothered again.
Semper Fidelis,
Michael P. McCrane
Captain, USMCR
Belleville, Illinois

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Dear Marvin:
For most of the years between 1950 and 1960 I was Chairman of the Executive Committee and major stockholder for Cia Litografica de la Habana. In that capacity I exercised primary policy, as well as most day-to-day control and direction over the company's affairs. It was, by far, the largest commercial printing company in Cuba--had thousands of stockholders (the stock was listed on the American Stock Exchange) and had 400 to 500 year-round employees. By Cuban standards we were a big and important part of the economy. Amongst our many customers we knew all the cigar manufacturers of Cuba. I personally knew many of the owners and enjoyed smoking their products immensely.
William Mills Orlando, Florida, USA, June 13, 2013 7:37pm ET
Dear Marvin - Regarding the letter from Peter Worsham in the August issue, I lived in Havana from 1997 until 2000 as a member of the U.S. Interests Section. The GOOD cigars are indeed heavily controlled and expensive no matter where you buy them including Cuba. That said there was always counterfeit/seconds cigars to be had on the black market, but so easily available that the Cuban government had to be aware or complicit in their production and sale. In the end, although not top of the line cigars it was Cuban tobacco which I think is the best in the world.
Changing the subject, I just returned from a car trip to Eastern North Carolina and was surprised to see farm fields of growing tobacco. These same fields use to grow soy beans, cotton, and corn, while the owners were being paid NOT to grow tobacco. Can anyone tell me what has happened? Chinese demand? Domestic demand? Other?
Thanks for the fine magazine.

William Mills

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