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They Joys of Cigars

We love to see the unabashed enjoyment of a good cigar.

You've seen guys, heads tilted back, blowing out a steady stream of smoke, eyes closed. They are savoring every minute. If you are a cigar smoker, you want to light up right away and join them. That's one of the reasons we've put William Shatner on the cover this issue. In his TV show, "Boston Legal," he and co-star James Spader retire to the balcony of the main character's law office to light up cigars and have a Scotch at the end of every episode. They laugh, discuss the day's events and, generally, just relax and have a good time. There's not one iota of guilt about sitting back and puffing away on a great cigar.

Where we live, the Northeast, the fall is one of the best times to find places to smoke. The heat of summer is gone, and there are lovely spots outdoors, such as porches and patios, where you can simply while away a few hours, reading and smoking one of your favorite cigars. It's at times like these that we truly focus on all the good things that surround cigars.

It's gotten tougher and tougher, however, to find places to smoke. Any cigar smoker in America today knows that. John Salley (see page 27) takes on the smoking police in Calabasas, California, where outdoor smoking has virtually been banned. As Salley points out, cars and buses belching smoke still run freely on the city streets, but its citizens are protected from the horrors of secondhand smoke.

You can't have missed the report on secondhand smoke put out by the government this past summer. We don't want to belabor the science and statistical analysis involved in the report, but you should not take the surgeon general's comments at face value. Read the report yourself. It's available for download. You'll see that the dangers are exaggerated, and that the study is far from conclusive.

That's another reason we want to keep promoting the idea that a legal product deserves a fair shake. The enjoyment of an occasional cigar, even daily, just doesn't pose the kind of risks that the antitobacco folks would have you believe. And you know that the relaxation you get from a cigar, and the camaraderie you have when you smoke with friends, has untold benefits that far outweigh the risks. It's a lifestyle choice that brings immeasurable pleasure to millions of people around the world.

It's why Cigar Aficionado has remained a successful magazine. We understand just how important a cigar is to many people, and we've been spreading that message for nearly 15 years.

So light up and enjoy it.