Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Dennis Haysbert, Nov/Dec 2006
(continued from page 2)
Irby and I just wanted to show our appreciation for your magazine and the great articles concerning the cigar and tobacco culture. Those articles keep us up to date with the latest and greatest cigars, brands and events. We are often left jealous and yearning for the many cigars showcased in your magazine, but for now we happily settle for what our family and friends send us.
So thanks again, Cigar Aficionado, for promoting and enriching the cigar culture. Irby and I appreciate it very much and we look forward to the day when we can sit in our local tobacco shops back home and "burn one."
Cpl. Thomas "Stitch" Steshko
Cpl. Irby "Arrow Maker"Fletcher
2d Reconnaissance Battalion, Bravo Co., 1st Plt
I know you must receive numerous letters relative to new areas being ruled as off-limits to cigar smokers. I was so surprised by a recent bit of cigar-smoker prejudice that I felt you and your readers should be made aware of it.
I have been retired and residing in Las Vegas for the past five years. My wife and I became very fond of the Rampart Casino (a Marriott hotel), located at 221 North Rampart Boulevard in Las Vegas. Twice a week we drive there to enjoy dinner in one of their fine restaurants, and then go our separate ways for a few hours: she to her video poker machines, and I to the sports book. This evening I did my usual thing—sat in the smoking section of the sports book and started reviewing the racing forms for thoroughbred racetracks that were running. As I made a few selections, I lit up a beautiful Cuban Montecristo No. 2 and ordered a coffee from the cocktail waitress.
After no more than five delicious puffs, the sports book manager approached and told me I either had to immediately extinguish my cigar or leave the sports book. I couldn't believe it. They serve no food in the sports book. They only have a bar along one wall, with the room divided in two: one half for nonsmoking, the other half for smoking. When I asked why, I was simply told that they had a lot of complaints about cigar smoke. As I looked around in disbelief, I counted 27 people puffing away on cigarettes! This was a first for me. No cigar smoking in a Las Vegas sports book! Anyway, it was no problem for me. My wife and I simply went down the street to another casino whose management hadn't lost its mind, and I finished my delicious Monte.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Americans have had a love/hate relationship with tobacco for over 200 years. During colonial times, it was believed to be a cough remedy. In the nineteenth century, it was believed to be an aphrodisiac. By the dawn of the twenty-first century, it became the most diabolical scourge in American history. Today, no reasonable person would deny that tobacco is potentially harmful. However, smoking is a personal right and is best defined as a risky habit, not a disease or crime that requires treatment or persecutory laws.
I vehemently challenge the so-called war on tobacco, which is a bombastic absurdity because a war, by definition, can only exist between humans in conflict. If there are no weapons, blood or bullets, we're talking about oppression or persecution and government interference of freedom, not war. It's logically impossible to have a war on tobacco (a substance) or poverty (an economic condition).
Regretfully, some people partake in risky behavior and damage their health, but for over 200 years that has been the price of liberty and freedom. Regardless of risk and danger, Americans have the right of choice; nonsmokers and fundamentalists can walk away instead of playing the role of self-ordained smoking police.