I recently joined the organization Cigar Rights of America. CRA. Yeah, tobacco, the world looks down on tobacco, and I am in the minority. Cigars. They stink, they are gross, disgusting, smelly and wives everywhere hate them. Cigars have always had a bad reputation here in America, where it was once said that what we need is a good nickel one.
I really can't remember when I first smoked a cigar. I smoked cigarettes after high school, and regret that now. About two years of smoking ciggies, coughing and grossing out everyone around me. Women, at least the ones that weren't drunk, were pretty grossed out as well. So I stopped, brushed my teeth more often, got married and even stopped drinking alcohol and eating meat for a long time. But then down the road a ways, when to culinary school, I took the wine appreciation class. And it was interesting. And tasty as well. It was then that I began to realize that those old youthful feelings that I had some 15 years previous were about getting drunk, not about appreciating what it was that I was drinking. I mean for the most part, the crowd I hung out with would on a rare occasion would spring for Mateus instead of Boone's Farm, or a dark beer instead of Coors, and even then, I recognized the difference. Now, I thought that I did enjoy the flavor profiles of the wines and beers from class, but I felt that I did not want to ever go back to that time in my life where I drank myself silly most every night and lost a short procession of jobs because of it. So actually, I guess that I began to realize the I liked the finer things in life. And wanted to enjoy those things. Some where in there I formed my own personal rule about never drinking anything distilled, the temptation is too great to lose control, and also to enjoy a fine cigar.
A fine cigar is unlike anything else in the world. And it is not strictly speaking, an all male pastime either. Cigars, good ones, are hand rolled, carefully blended with a mix of specific qualities of tobacco leaves grown in differing ways to create individual flavor profiles. And yes, different flavors really do come through and present themselves onto your palate when smoking. Not cigarettes, yuch, those have no specific flavors. Cigarettes have up to 27 different chemicals added to them to help them burn, Cigars have nothing but tobacco. Tiny nuances of flavor, pepper, chocolate, cherry, clove all settle into your mind when you allow the smoke to lay in your mouth for a few moments. A fine cigar is a thing of rich pleasure.
So, why CRA? Well, I can't believe that the world has come to the place that it has. I understand that there should be a ban on smoking in stores, and other public places; however, if a person wants to own a bar or restaurant and cater to smokers, why should they not be allowed. If they have a bar, and deem it to be smoking, and you don't want to be around smoke, don't go in there. Pretty simple isn't it. In this country you can buy a gun, and go shoot kids in school and people everywhere stick up for their rights to do the same thing. THEY ARE ADAMANT THAT THEY HAVE THAT RIGHT!!!! But not to own a bar that allows smoking. That is not a right anymore. The RIGHT to make your own choice has been taken from Americans. For their own good.
Tobacco causes cancer! Hmmmm, I'm not so sure about that one. Lung cancer was nearly unheard of until the forties. And yet people smoked like crazy back in the old days. What changed? Well, tobacco has been changing, strains have been cultivated and bred for flavor, texture and quality. Oh wait a minute, that's for cigar tobacco. Regular ciggie tobacco has been grown for quantity and sprayed with insecticide to keep bugs off it. And grown in mass quantities using modern farming techniques, monoculture, herbicides, pesticides, and petrochemical fertilizers. Cigar tobacco is grown organically in most high end cigar grower fields. Cigarettes are made with sugars, chemicals and extenders, over 27 in total. Some of those, are in fact cancer causing. Cigars are made with nothing but tobacco. Well, at least high end ones are. We don't have nickel cigars, but there are a whole class of cheap cigars out there that are made by machine, and have sugars and flavors added to them. And probably cause cancer as well.
I smoke cigars. I enjoy them. I now belong to an organization that promotes the rights of cigar smokers, CRA. I suggest that everyone join this organization, not because you smoke, but because these guys have exactly the right attitude, protect your right of choice. If you don't, then pretty soon more of your rights will disappear, for your own good.