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  • Writer's pictureBen Balliro

Everyone, Please Calm Down

Updated: Apr 14

Today there is so much geopolitical drama with the Russians, price of food and gas, federal and state taxes, student loans, Elon Musk, delayed shipping, automobile price hikes, and on and on and on…you get the point.

It is my honest belief that we are all suffering from at least one of the above circumstances and we could all use a little break now and again. Cigars are designed to coax us into calming down and forget about life for a while.

Cigars not only bring us together, they also encourage us to bond with one another. There’s a favorite cigar lounge I visit here in FL and every time I visit I am always welcomed by the staff and the various strangers that cross my path. It’s a cigar shop and lounge attached to a wine bar with some edible arrangements and accessories. Sometimes I sit in the lounge by myself with an espresso and a good book, other times a small group of us will watch a sports ball game on the television, or it’s simply a room full of middle-aged men trying to solve the world's problems…all with cigar in hand. I meet people from literally all walks of life; heart surgeons, retired sales reps, construction workers, business owners, investment bankers, medical personnel, you name it I’ve probably run into someone of any particular field.

This visit provides me with a small sampling of the planet’s happenings using real-world examples from first-hand contributors involved in that field. Now, of course, you can watch the news and read books and as well you should, but talking to someone with actual experience I believe gives a better reading than watching the news. It’s an advantage that supersedes most news reports because I’m talking to someone who is directly involved and whose story has not yet been pasteurized and homogenized in the vat of politics.

Smoking a cigar naturally produces nicotine, which has a chemical-induced biphasic effect on the human body. It means it’s physically relaxing while mentally stimulating at the same time. When I visit that lounge (or most other lounges for that matter) I get a similar experience with my conversations and shared thoughts with surrounding people. For example, if I want to know what’s going on in the current housing market, there might be a person or two who are commercial or residential real estate agents who can share the inside scoop. Reciprocally, if someone wants to know about the pulse of the used auto market, I can share my thoughts with them. This real-time exchange of information is unique to the cigar industry because, as I said before, the cigar almost forces you to sit down and enjoy your time with people; and hopefully learn something new in the process.

Stereotypically the image of cigar smokers is just older men in tweed suits lighting a fog of smelly tobacco and talking about how much money they just screwed out of people on Wall Street...I’m not saying that doesn’t still happen, but in my experience it’s not the social norm of most lounges. (Then again, I’m not a Wall Street Tycoon, so I don’t hang out with that crowd). Learning the art of “calming down” can help you reflect on your thoughts and decisions both for the day, and in life.

Even if you have nothing socially in common with the person next to you, you can always utter the phrase, ”So what are you smoking?”. It’s an appropriate question to break the ice of any herf, much like asking “What are you drinking?” at a bar scene. The conversation may stop at that point if there is no chemistry, but it’s a guaranteed way to start one, and from there the path of conversation is up to you. In an interview with Marvin Shanken of Cigar Aficionado, Ray Lewis once said, “Cigars for me are a point of renewal…that every man needs in the course of 24 hours”. Patience is indeed a virtue, and cigars are just one of nature’s delicious ways to practice.

I hope you enjoyed this read; if you have questions or comments, please write to us on our website, and happy smoking everyone!

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