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  • Writer's pictureBen Balliro

Ban It!

Updated: Apr 14




Smoking bans are nothing new, in fact they have been around since the 16th century when King James I (b.1566-d.1625) mutilated and tortured snuff users and hanged pipe smokers. Rodrigo de Jerez, one of Columbus’ crew members, was imprisoned for seven years after being arrested for smoking in public. The Spanish Inquisition had labeled him “demonic” for blowing smoke out of his nose in public; today we call this demonic act retrohaling. Ever since, there has been a social battle for rights and privileges to enjoy premium tobacco. Especially in today’s age, there continues to be a Veil of Ignorance when it comes to tobacco, specifically premium tobacco such as hand rolled cigars and pipe tobacco users. There are countless “studies” completed around the globe that prove banning smoking makes this world a better place. Economy’s grow, life expectancies increase, and everyone is smiling and happy. I believe there is a major distinction between premium cigars, and alternative smoking products. The problem with this argument I find, comes from banning “tobacco”, in any form, for any reason, at any time. This blanketed form of discrimination puts everyone in the same category, in the same way McDonald’s hamburgers causes obesity, therefore all hamburgers should be outlawed nationwide. It’s important that we distinguish between panic, and proportion.


There is but one vice I enjoy above most others...enjoying a cigar and coffee in the morning outside enjoying the fresh air. All well in good at your own home, but what about public outdoor areas such as parks, lakesides, beaches, or even seating benches. Those of course are subject to laws and regulations that can hinder that experience. This begs the question, what about outdoor smoking bans?


In order to adapt, we create our own spaces such as man caves, backyard pergolas, I’ve even had friends up north use winter huts to create a comfort zone from the cold. If you Google “how to build a cigar smoking man cave”, you will find 2 reoccurring fundamental components of their architecture; proper ventilation and circulating fresh air. If you are already outside, however, you are utilizing 100 percent of outside ventilation.


If you follow cigar news at all, you can find an almost daily published news article about how this public beach is banned smoking, this public park, this municipality, this county, etc etc...


There are always two sides to every story. One side is all tobacco should be banned because according to the Center for Disease Control almost half a million people die from direct smoking each year from lunch cancer and complimentary health complications. Which is true. Under the umbrella of "tobacco" you have cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, chewing tobacco, gas station cigarillos, and yes, premium cigars. Now if you read the fine print on lung.org you will find distinct information showing how Big Tobacco is targeting youth with flavored products and swanky advertisement; seeking a younger market to replace their current aging and ill demographic. Perhaps that is true, and for cigarettes and flavored cigarillos and vapes that could be the case. The flip side, and this is where it becomes controversial, premium cigars do not advertise to you youth, moreover underage youth. Our industry has no need for them, and furthermore the average 12 year old is not looking for a Ashton Maduro or Padron 1964. Unlike cigarettes which contain hundreds of ingredients,(including tar btw, which is where the lung cancer part comes into play) premium cigars are to be enjoyed by adults, and only adults are by and large seeking these premium products. but because premium cigars contain the word "tobacco" it's becomes lumped in with the rest of the industry and tossed in all the same. Cigars and cigarettes are not the same; They are not marketed the same, created, advertised, sold to, or even consumed the same way. So when we the legal adult population want to enjoy our delicious smokes in peace and indeed an outdoor arena, we must capitulate to an already panicked and ignorant market.


On the flip side, giving the mass populi unbridled freedom to enjoy cigars without compromise would be foolish. I heard this phrase many years ago…”My rights, privileges, and freedoms end where someone’s rights and privileges and freedoms begin…” Cigar smoking, like most vices, requires a certain level of responsibility and respect for those around you. Mutual respect is crucial to create harmony without conflict and most premium tobacco users are adapting each day to make life more comfortable for themselves, while respecting the space of their fellow patrons who choose not to smoke. All we ask in return is the freedom to enjoy our products without smokerism and unnecessary hindrance. We want to enjoy the fruits of this great land of ours, and we are willing to respect the laws of that land, even if the people in charge of that land...are snowflakes. Thanks for reading.

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