Cigar Aficionado

Where (Not) To Smoke

I recently returned from a little vacation with the family, and I'm getting back in the swing of things here at the office. That means getting back to smoking cigars. During my trip, I took a seven-day break. Every now and then, I don't mind missing a day (or a few days) of puffing cigars.

One part of my trip included a visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the amusement park known as Hershey Park. It's a fun place, especially if you have a child who enjoys roller coasters. Hershey Park has 11 of them. The two toughest ones were Fahrenheit, a steel monster with a 97 degree drop (you can see it in the picture), and Storm Runner, a beast that goes zero to 72 miles per hour in about two seconds and has a drop of 180 feet.

You can't walk around Hershey Park smoking cigars. (Things have changed quite a bit since I was a kid.) But the park at least provides places to people who smoke, designated smoking areas where smoking is allowed. I saw several when I was there. These are wooden huts, built in gazebo style, with an open door and room inside and out. Not lots of room, certainly nothing elegant, but at least there was a place.

Fahrenheit roller coaster, hershey park.

My son saw people puffing cigarettes, and told me I should light a cigar there. I explained that's not what cigar smoking is all about. When I smoke for pleasure, I want to be in a relaxed, comfortable environment, not huddled in an unlit shack without seats. Not rushing. When I puff for pleasure, I'm not smoking a cigar because my body says I have to, I'm smoking a cigar because I want to.

Were there times that I wanted to have a cigar while I was there? Sure. But I can go a few days without puffing. I smoke more cigars than most people, but I don't wake up in the morning with a burning urge for that first cigar, and if I happen to not light one up in a given day I don't get antsy. You don't tend to see cigar smokers huddled outside of buildings here in New York City, stealing a puff on their lunch break. Cigar smoking is for relaxing. For contemplation. For conversation. It's not about the smoke, it's something else.

So while I thank the good people who run Hershey Park for allowing smoking, albeit in a very Spartan environment, I decided to pass. Sometimes, it just makes sense to wait.  

Do you agree?

"I completely agree with you, David. And I appreciate that you are not judgmental about it. If a rookie cigar chum had the same idea as your son, I hope that I would be gracious and helpful, not critical. After all, this is about pleasure and relaxation. Cheers!" —November 28, 2011 03:55 AM
"I agree with you, David. To me, the enjoyment of a cigar is not smoking; its Cigaring! " —October 20, 2011 01:57 AM
"Well put David. Smoking a cigar is about the experience and camaraderie in a comfortable setting; being crammed in cubicle indoors or our is not for me. At the rate the gov't is going cigar smokers may become "the huddled masses yearning to be free"" —October 6, 2011 16:34 PM
"I have gone for over a month without a cigar with no cravings. I missed the relaxation a cigar provides but didn't "NEED" it. " —October 6, 2011 15:24 PM
"A year ago wife and I left the city after 52 years. We moved to a farm, 1/4 mile off the road, an oasis of calm. I quickly became addicted to the peace and contentment of just "watching the corn grow". Last May, a friend of mine returned from the DR and gave me a no name. I sat down that evening and put the fire to it. For the next 90 minutes the peace and contentment was expanded exponentially. I was hooked. I've enjoyed many cigars since then (everything from ninety-fours to seventy-fours) and am continually amazed at the pleasure that I derive from all of them. Sorry I was so late to the party, but you guys have it right!" —September 26, 2011 19:37 PM
"Yea boi" —September 23, 2011 20:34 PM
"Smoking cigars is true zen, for no other reason than pleasure it is the ultimate way to say im in control and im content." —September 23, 2011 20:31 PM
"Dave - I totally agree with your assessment. It's just not about smoking cigars just to smoke - let cigarette smokers do that. When I smoke my cigars I do it only when it's the right setting, environment and where I can relax and enjoy. I too will go days without smoking one - that is part of the enjoyment of it for me." —September 21, 2011 17:11 PM
"I never smoked a cigarette and personally, I think it's disgusting. Lot's of my friends compare cigars with cigarettes and think it is a big misunderstanding and a lack of cigar culture to compare both. I can't smoke my cigars in my break time or when I am waiting for the bus! :) It's a no sense for me! Cigars is a moment of life luxury and it need to be respected! I own lot's of cigars and learned everything on it, I love the history of it and explore all the flavours. Cheers, French Canadian cigars lover :)" —September 20, 2011 10:34 AM
"I totally agree, enjoying one of your favorite cigars is a time for good conversation and laughter with great friends, celebrations, personal reflection or just to enjoy a well-made product." —September 16, 2011 11:35 AM
"Cigars, are more about the exprince like an event that you plan rather then a cigertte where you smoke just to smoke. For, me early firday evenings are great espcally on old 1920'style porch with a swing just brillant " —September 14, 2011 13:35 PM
"Great point, David. Cigar smoking is more than just satisfying some sort of base urge for nicotine. It's a social happening, even if you are alone. For me, being outside on a beautiful morning such as the one we had today, and will have tomorrow, is what it's all about. A great cigar, beautiful weather, contemplating the day at hand, or reflecting on the days events at night is what I love about cigars. It doesn't hurt that I get to enjoy my cigars with my wife, who smokes as well. We both find it very enjoyable, and look forward to our "alone" time together." —September 11, 2011 05:29 AM
"As a Canadian who only smokes outdoors, I have no choice but to be content with going weeks or months without a cigar. During the summer, I generally smoke no more than one or two a week, so I can usually find a time and place to relax. I find the cigar forces me to stop working. Without a cigar, there's always the danger I would get tired of relaxing and go back inside and work on something." —September 8, 2011 12:17 PM
"I've always found it funny how, for me, cigar smoking doesn't rule my life like cigarette smoking does to cigarette smokers. There are times when I certainly have the urge to have a cigar, but no more than I have other urges such as to eat a great steak, or have a cup of coffee. I've never seen a cigar smoker frantically lighting up at an airport after a long flight, or getting those last few puffs before getting in a car. That shows me that cigar smoking is about more than the tobacco, it’s a state of mind that is only achieved when you have the time relax, reflect, converse, and enjoy the entire experience. No cigar is worth wasting without having that entire experience. " —September 8, 2011 10:50 AM
"Yet another reason why cigar and pipe enthusiasts have much lower rates of suicide compared to non smokers and cigarette smokers." —September 8, 2011 09:51 AM
" I agree, one should have a cigar with the time to enjoy it from start to finish with no interuptions and with the company of others who understand this. My Sunday morning smoke reading the paper on the porch with my girfriend before going to church is truly peacefull and relaxing or strolling through St Augustine's St George street and surrounding area with a good smoke in one hand and a good woman on the other is what it is all about." —September 6, 2011 20:24 PM
"I saw the smoke dens when I was there as well. It looked like a place you would cut open a philly blunt, not a place for a nice cigar. I took a walk around the Hershey Lodge and had a cigar next to the big pond across from the main entrance. Nice spot if you go back." —September 6, 2011 15:37 PM
"I used to smoke cigarettes, about a half a pack a day. Gave it up fifteen years ago. I sometimes go weeks without smoking a cigar. It is true, with how busy my life is with work, home, my wife and kids I find it hard to find an hour to myself when I can sit down and relax withour interuptions and enjoy a really good cigar. That's the only way to enjoy a smoke. I'd rather not smoke at all if there will be interuptions or if I am hurried. Waiting for that calm relaxed time with cocktail and watch a ball game or golf tornament is well worth it." —September 6, 2011 13:33 PM