Michael Maenza
Oak Brook, Illinois

"> Michael Maenza
Oak Brook, Illinois

"> Out of the Humidor | Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Aficionado

Out of the Humidor

Dear Marvin,
Many of the recent letters to the editor address the topic of smoking bans in various cities. As a resident of the Chicago area, I can relate. Smoking has been banned in many bars and restaurants. In some municipalities, it's even been banned outdoors. I say the bans don't go far enough. The most dangerous substance in a bar is not the smoke, it's the liquor. Liquor can kill you right now, not 40 years from now. Let's ban all drinking, smoking and while we're at it, let's ban sex. I'm old enough to remember when a liberal was someone who thought it was OK to "do your own thing." How times have changed!
Michael Maenza
Oak Brook, Illinois


Dear Marvin,
I'm tired of the whining about the way smokers' rights are being trampled. Whining loses; action wins. This country was founded by people who refused to allow their rights to be trampled. Smokers should also act.

The great fear when antismoking legislation was being proposed was that smokers would no longer patronize establishments such as restaurants and that business would suffer. That suffering never materialized. Smokers just went along with the legislation and continued to spend their money at those establishments. That's why they lost their rights; they allowed them to be taken away. Letters and comments in your periodical are, frankly, meaningless. Only money talks.

The most logical solution is to allow businesses to make their own choice and let the free market determine how many smoking/nonsmoking establishments there are. Smokers and antismokers alike would be free to patronize businesses of their choice. Similarly, employees would be free to accept employment in the workplace of their choice.

Of course, this was the way it was before the antismoking forces gained control. Businesses were certainly free to prohibit smoking. In general, they didn't. This forced the antismokers to seek a legislative deterrent, framing their legislation as a health issue for the workers. Who could argue that they wanted to endanger someone else's heath? But no one was forced to work in an establishment that allowed smoking.

Money is a stronger motivator in this country than guns, ballots or morality. When Colorado and California became the first states to legalize abortion, other states soon followed. Why? Did they suddenly believe abortion was a valid moral decision? Hardly. They recognized that money could be made. When New Jersey legalized casino gambling, other states soon followed. Why? Did they suddenly believe gambling was a valid moral decision? Hardly. They recognized that New Jersey was making money from gambling.

If enough smokers would stay home, invite friends over, and just enjoy smoking in their own homes, meanwhile giving a clear message that they are not going anywhere they don't have to if they are not allowed to smoke, something would be done quickly. Alternatively, they could start forming and joining private clubs where smoking was allowed and use economic pressure to protect their rights.
Gary Oberst
Norwalk, Connecticut


Dear Marvin,
I can't believe you are trying to promote cigar smoking where you can't. It's hardly possible that Chicago's top restaurants will still show up when you cannot smoke there. I have been to the Big Smoke eight times, but with the rules as they are I will not go again. Last year was less than 26 cigars and the sizes were smaller. Food will definitely be less this year, and why would the liquor merchants be there? Good luck on a crowd, and while you are there in Chicago, you can thank the idiot Alderman and Alderwhiners for destroying the greatest cigar town in the country.
Gary Deuling
Chicago, Illinois


Editor's note: Check out page 234. It was a great Big Smoke with more cigars than last year and plenty of food. Our attitude is that you can't abandon the field because things get difficult. We're sticking in there.


Dear Marvin,
As a subscriber to Cigar Aficionado it always brings a smile to my face after a long day of work, when I open my mailbox to find your magazine mixed in with the bills, junk mail and various other solicitations. As soon as I can get some quiet time I go through it cover it to cover, usually starting with the ratings, and make some notes on what cigars to try the next time I am in a cigar shop (usually De La Concha on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan).

In one of the past issues, I really got a kick out of your article describing your round of golf with Tiger Woods. As an average hacker who doesn't have enough time to get on the course, your story conveyed the sense of nervousness mixed with excitement that you must have felt, as you were lucky enough to play a round with one of the greatest golfers of all time. I have had the opportunity to watch Tiger and his fellow Tour players from outside the ropes, but I can only imagine what it would be like to stroll up the fairway with him.

After getting home the other night and receiving the most recent issue of CA, I went straight to your article on playing with Ernie Els and Gary Player. It must have been an absolute thrill to have a chance to play with these gentlemen. Playing a "friendly" match, without any fans, and smoking some good cigars must have made it more enjoyable, and to make those putts and win the match made for a great read. I look forward to your next adventure on the links.
Matt Hogan
New York, New York


Dear Marvin,
I must admit that I have never smoked a cigar, cigarette or any other tobacco product. I have been against the use of tobacco for many years now, and for all the right reasons. However, I am in no way one of those annoying, arrogant antitobacco protestors. I turned 18 in November 2005, which means I can purchase tobacco legally in the state of Texas, but I've chosen to refrain from the use of any tobacco product. My reasoning is justifiable due to my brother's health situation. At the age of 23, he had endured 18 years of battling with cystic fibrosis, the life threatening disease that affects the lungs, undergone two lung transplants (a double lung transplant, and then a single lung transplant after one of the lungs failed), and now continues a new fight against type one diabetes. He has been through a lot, and as the one without any serious medical condition, I feel that it is my duty to him and others like him to stay tobacco free so that should something happen to me, my lungs and other vital organs would be available for transplants, or if necessary, should my brother need help again, I would at least be cleared as a living donor should I be a match.

Now this may sound like the wrong story to submit to someone who's the editor and publisher of a magazine titled Cigar Aficionado, but the bottom line is that through all this, we, and that is my brother and I, love your magazine! Sure we might have all the reasons to ignore your magazine and pick up a Sports Illustrated, but the bottom line is that you are not just Cigar Aficionado, but "The Good Life Magazine for Men." And there is nothing wrong with that. We have had the pleasure of growing up in a very fortunate family, and had the luxury to enjoy all the pleasures of fine travel, good food and great golf. To us, your magazine is about the fine things in life, and you attribute cigars to that lifestyle. I've enjoyed reading your magazine for the past two years for the great articles and interviews, as well as the passion from other cigar lovers and their advice on the good life. I've enjoyed bonding with my brother on a topic that is foreign and new to us. Sometimes we'll laugh about how we wish we both had the ability to enjoy cigars (both health and morals aside), for that would be the final touch in the passion and love that you and your readers strive to live by. I was given permission, somewhat jokingly from my brother, to gather a knowledge and appreciation for cigars, so that I can one day begin a collection that I will share with friends, acquaintances and other cigar aficionados when the day comes in my life, when I'm old and retired, that I too can enjoy what you have so kindly opened my eyes to: the good life with a cigar in hand.
Matthew Kugler
Houston, Texas


Dear Marvin,
I am a beginner cigar aficionado, only been at it for a few years now. I have found that one of the true joys in my life is smoking a cigar outside with my Doberman at my side. I literally drool at the sight of your magazine—I kid not (my wife gives me grief over this). I must say your articles and picture layout are exquisite...whoever does this on your team requires an immediate pay raise. I have to ask two questions: what cigar did my idol George Burns smoke and how often did he smoke?

Why is G.B. my idol? He reminds me of my grandfather, who would go out with a cigar every Sunday during a baseball game in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and lay back in the old beat-up Chrysler 300 and light up and just sit back and listen to the game on his car radio and enjoy every inch of the smoke and come back in the house. I remember that cigar scent in my mind every time I light up here in my own backyard. Thanks, Grandpa, for the great memories! Thank you and your team for such an awesome magazine! Consider me a lifelong member.
Erik Hass
Seattle, Washington


Editor's note: George Burns was an El Producto smoker and it was reported that he had 10 or more every day. Go to cigaraficionado.com and check out our George Burns story from 1994. It was his last interview.