There are signs everywhere that cigars are becoming popular again. For example,
you can’t pass a magazine stand without seeing two or three new magazines glorifying the
subject, and restaurants all over the country are devoting entire nights to “smoke dinners.”
So why is the cigarette still considered offensive and is generally scorned by all? This
seems strange since cigars and cigarettes have so many things in common: both are made
of tobacco, both are rolled into tube-like shapes, and both are smoked. However, it must
be the differences that make the cigar so much more popular. Cigars are made from better
quality tobaccos, cigars are hand rolled, and cigars have a more pleasing aroma.
Both cigars and cigarettes are constructed of tobacco, but the care used in raising
fine cigar tobacco is second to none. Only the finest leaves of the plant are selected. The
drying and fermenting process is long (nine months for filler leaves and up to two years for
wrapper leaves) and closely watched. Cigarette tobacco is grown for quantity; not
necessarily for quality. No regard is given to the aroma and smoke of the different types
of tobacco. The only type of tobacco grown is fast-maturing strains they can get to the
Careful and attentive raising is non existent. The leaves are quickly dried
and thrown into boxes for shipment to the rolling factory.
Fine cigars are hand rolled, whereas all cigarettes are machine rolled. Including
the type and quality of the leaf, rolling is the ultimate judge of whether a cigar is good or
bad. Cigar companies go to great pains to be sure they hire only the best “Torcedores”
(cigar rollers). If a cigar is underfilled it will burn hot and harsh; if it is overfilled it is
“Plugged” and will not draw.
To be sure that the cigars are of the best quality, one out of
ten is inspected (that’s two out of each box). On the other hand, cigarette tobacco is first
jammed into cutting machines where the leaves are shredded. Second, they go into the
rolling machines where the shreds are perfectly measured out, rolled, and wrapped in
paper. The only humans who come in contact with the tobacco, at this point, are the
monitors who sweep up the debris and add it back to the hopper. Since machines are
doing the work, there is very little quality control. Only one out of a thousand is checked
(that’s one cigarette out of fifty packs).
Cigar smoke is savored and appreciated, while cigarette smoke is considered nasty
and smelly. Cigar smoke is very heavy and robust (it’s also impossible to get out of
fabrics), however, people who smoke them immensely enjoy the thick and rich aroma.
Even non-smokers who smell one on the street will look to see from where it’s coming
from and often give you a smile and a nod. It seems, however, that if you light up a
cigarette you receive dirty looks from the whole room (or everyone around you while
you’re outside), and most likely even be asked to put it extinguish it.
In conclusion, the fine care taken in growing cigar tobacco, as well as the hand
rolling, and the distinctly different aroma has somehow been re-discovered by this anti-
tobacco generation. Sales are up five-hundred percent in the last seven years, while
cigarettes are still loathed by all, even by many of the people who smoke them.
Maybe, if the cigarette companies would improve the quality of their product, they too
could enjoy the renewed interest in tobacco.
Category: English .