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  • Writer's pictureBen Balliro

This is a man's world...or is it?

Updated: May 29, 2019

Hundreds of years ago men decided it was high time they shared in tobacco with their other male companions. They would discourage and even forbid women from partaking in cigar smoking because it was business men doing business in plush lounge chairs, smoking jackets, and valour house slippers in a baron's coastline summerhome. Today, all of that has changed. The demographics, the marketing, prices, and even the variety and quantity of cigars today has evolved tremendously. This paradigm shift also includes empowering the fair sex to be included in tobacco pastime. I will admit that today a lot of people still use women in the "provocative" way to market their cigars and attract yet, more men to their brand.

However, there are women in the cigar industry that work just as hard, even harder still, for their stake in the cigar industry. Everything from running a cigar shop, creating blends, to family owned brands. Women today have gained more rights and more knowledge of cigars then ever before. Men need to step aside and remove the "no girls allowed" sign from their front door. Several notable women have even been featured on the cover of the infamous Cigar Aficionado magazine including; Catherine Zeta Jones, Gina Gershon, Raquel Welch, Sharon Stone, Claudia Shiffer, Demi Moore, and just recently Maggie Siff, an acclaimed actress shown on hit tv shows Sons of Anarchy and Billions.

I say kudos to women want to try cigars! It shows they want to take part in the masculine ritual and not be shunned out by stereotypes. Yes it is true that the female demographic typically do not hang around cigar bars all day like most men, but that stereotype is changing. Today's females are taking charge and getting involved in this industry more now than ever before.

An article was published in 2014 on (a subsidiary publisher of USA Today) that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention "about 2 percent of women in the US smoke cigars...that's about 3.2 million women compared to the 9 percent of men in the US who smoke cigars". Barbara Muchel, owner of Cigar Haven in Fisher, has over 900 varieties of cigars in her lounge including Blue Mountain, Torano, and Kristoff. The article continues on to discuss Blend Cigar Bar; a bar designed by a woman to attract a female clientele. Blend installed a state of the art scent system to keep the area well ventilated. It has an elegant lounge where women can order e.g. A chocolate martini and pair it with chocolate truffle cigar.

I say women today have every right to enjoy a premium cigar just as much as anyone else and should not fear "hanging out with the boys".Quite honestly I think it would be a breath of fresh air, pun intended, to see a few more women in a cigar bar now and again. I see this stereotype in my local cigar shop that when a women sits down and has a cigar the first thing out of the gentelman's mouth is "oh I didn't know you like cigars!". As if to imply that because a women is smoking a cigar she may have something to prove or wants to be part of the boys. Simply put, as quoted by Sigmund Freud said "Sometimes a cigar, is just a cigar"

My advice to you is this. If you see a women in your local cigar shop smoking, your opening line shouldn't be "oh you like smoking cigars, that's so weird". That makes her feel out of place and it's downright inappropriate. Instead, try "what are you smoking?". That way she doesn't feel awkward and instead make her feel like she belongs there. Also never assume she is smoking a flavored cigar or something stereotypically feminine. Macho men beware, she might have more knowledge of cigars than you do. Make her feel welcome and encourage her that it's ok to hang out in a public cigar bar with everyone else. "This is a man's world, but it wouldn't be nothing without a women or a girl..." -James Brown

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