Cigar Aficionado

Not My New York

What happened to New York? When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut, New York City was always the big, mysterious place with a little Wild West thrown in. It had a reckless side, a rebellious side and a seedy side. Cabbies drove like crazy, you could find things here that were available nowhere else, and it was very common to see people wearing all kinds of crazy outfits. On an early visit, I turned a corner and almost walked into a man stripped to the waist with boxing gloves on each hand. (I crossed the street.) People were different in New York and they did what they wanted, and God help those who tried to tell them no.

That’s just not the same anymore. Today, the “N” in New York could stand for nanny, as in Nanny State. The city that once never slept is now more like the city that says No. The people in charge of this once rebellious city are now mimicking such anti Sin City municipalities as Canada and California.

What set me off this morning is yesterday’s City Council vote to ban the sale of flavored tobacco in the city. Flavored cigarettes (except for menthol) are already illegal in the United States, thanks to a September ban by the Food and Drug Administration, the new boss of the U.S. tobacco industry. The New York City ban is tougher, and would make the city the only one in the union (save for the state of Maine) banning all flavored tobacco, except for pipe and  hookah tobacco. The legislation needs to be signed by Mayor Bloomberg, and it’s hard to imagine that someone who is as anti-tobacco as the Mayor would vote such legislation down. Unless challenged in court, in about 120 days the sale of flavored cigars will become illegal in New York City.

(Irony of ironies, aficionados who enjoy flavored cigars might soon have to reverse generations of behavior and leave a city that long had a reputation of being the place to find whatever you want and go to a place like Connecticut to find it!)

Welcome to the new (and not improved) New York City.

"Don't be surprised to see a ban on the sales of single cigars and rolling papers. To me, it seems that the issue at hand has little to do with the "dangers" of smoking. Rather, this is an attempt to curb the smoking of pot. Cigar aficionados are simply a casualty of the government's war on drugs." —October 15, 2009 19:48 PM
"I don't understand why? What's the big deal on flavored cigars ? It makes no sense to me. With all the other MAJOR PROBLEMS in NYC that need to be addressed. Instead they want to worry about flavored cigars. Who cares ? Is there something I am missing here ? " —October 23, 2009 00:24 AM
"This happened in Galveston, Texas after Hurricane Ike went through, except the special interested group of Galveston's city council voted in a city ban on public smoking, even in a retail store. So, don't think this can't happen more. This ban went into place as the local stores were cleaning up the hurricane mess." —October 16, 2009 22:22 PM
"It's as if Bloomberg's Ego is competing against that of Boston or San Fransisco as to who has the highest level of Nanny Statedness. Don't be suprised if his next move is to paint every skyscrapper white to compete against the proposal in Cali that all rooftops be painted white to reflect the sunlight back toward the sky." —October 23, 2009 22:34 PM
"I hope things change..It seems so simple. If u enjoy cigars, and you are not being rude to others about there dislikes for cigars..We should have rights to smoke them." —October 15, 2009 16:32 PM
"I could not agree fact when I read about Barclay Rex in NYC being fined for GIVING AWAY free coffee i wrote a letter to the NEW YORK POST that they printed:THE ISSUE: A citation given to an NYC cigar store for serving customers coffee without a permit. ***Once again, New York City's bureaucratic buffoons have targeted cigar shops in an effort to make it even more difficult to cater to our cigar-smoking passion ("Nanny-State Nit Picking," Editorial, Sept. 1). In this day and age of worldwide and citywide monumental problems, the city has determined to focus its resources on penalizing a cigar shop for dispensing free coffee. When will these zealots back off and let us enjoy our cigars, especially in the confines of those establishments where our ever diminishing right to smoke is still respected?Mark Weinberg Brooklyn NY" —October 15, 2009 11:56 AM