Smoking cigars is an extremely old pastime.
In fact, the first cigar was thought to have been invented by the Mayans. When they were first invented, the tobacco was thought to have either been wrapped in palm leaves or plantain.
An ancient pot from the 10th century actually depicted a Mayan man smoking one of these primitive cigars.
Cigars have come a long way since Mayan times, and even if you’re a huge fan of cigars, there are likely many cigar facts that you don’t know about.
Check out this guide to the top surprising facts about smoking cigars that you need to know.
1. Smoking One to Two a Day Can Keep the Doctor Away
Okay, cigars may not exactly be beneficial for your health, but, smoking just one to two a day does not seem to cause any major health issues.
This may come as a major surprise, seeing as the Food and Drug Administration has taken the position that cigars come with many of the same risks that smoking cigarettes do.
In fact, the FDA requires that cigar ads and packages contain the following warnings:
- Even if you don’t inhale, cigar smoking can cause cancers of the throat and mouth
- Smoking cigars can cause heart disease and lung cancer
- Cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes
However, the FDA just recently released a staff report stating that smoking one to two cigars per day comes with minimal significant health risks.
Just recently, FDA staff published a systematic review of the risks of smoking cigars in the BMC Public Health.
In this review, the authors looked at 22 epidemiologic studies on the health outcomes of smoking cigars.
By looking at these studies, the staff members concluded that while smoking cigars is not completely safe, smoking just one to two per day does not come with any significant health risks.
2. Cigars Used to Be Fairground Prizes
Have you ever heard the phrase, “close but no cigar”?
Well, interestingly enough, this phrase comes from a time when cigars were given away as a popular carnival prize.
While today, fairs are filled with overpriced stuffed-animals that people attempt to win for their children, back in the day, most of the fair prizes were geared towards adults.
It’s thought that game workers used to belt this phrase out when someone lost, and as the fairgrounds traveled throughout the country, this phrase spread rapidly.
While the phrase is still used today, it was particularly popular in the 1920s and 1930s.
3. Famous People and Their Cigars
If you smoke cigars, you’re in good company, as there have been many famous people throughout history who have had an affinity for cigars.
Here are some of them:
Winston Churchill requested the creation of an oxygen mask for his first high-altitude flight to accommodate his cigar smoking.
Once the oxygen mask was created, he was puffing his cigar at 15,000 feet over Berlin.
They even allowed Churchill to open a cabin window so he could flick out the end of the cigar.
Considered to be one of the world’s most impactful psychoanalysts, Freud is known for tying sex into everything.
However, he decided to leave cigars out of his psychological studies, and is known for having said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”.
While we all know that Cuba is famous for its cigars, many people don’t know that haywire plan that involved the CIA attempting to poison Fidel Castro with a cigar.
The CIA was supposed to use their medical services to place the botulism toxin into Fidel Castro’s cigars.
However, the cigars only seemed to make Castro go number two. And he even commented that the cigars had interesting notes of almonds, leather, and gorgonzola cheese.
Queen Catherine of Great Russia
Did you ever wonder why there are small bands around cigars?
Well, they’re not just for decoration. Queen Catherine of Great Russia loved smoking cigars, but she hated the way they made her hands smell.
To protect her hands from the smell, she started placing silk bands around her cigars which she’d use to hold them.
While this may make Queen Catherine seem like a very delicate woman, it was reported that she was often seen at beheadings eating cabbage rolls, slurping vodka, and using her sleeve as a napkin.
Mark Twain gave up cigars at the request of his wife, which led to an extreme bout of writer’s block.
To end his writer’s block, Twain resumed smoking his usual 300 cigars per month. This led him to write a book in three months. And unfortunately, he used all the money he made from that book to buy even more cigars.
Frustrated, his wife left him for a Latvian immigrant named Moishe. Ironically, their great-grandson invented the Stinky Ashtray.
4. Cigar Production is No easy Process
It’s often said that 200 pairs of hands touch a cigar before they get to you. However, we’d argue that it’s even more, especially for premium cigars.
Cigar production begins with greenhouse cultivation and seed selection. The tobacco begins as a tiny seed, which is typically planted in a tray and grown in a greenhouse.
Once the seedlings reach a few inches high, farmers transplant them into fields to flourish. Then, when the leaves reach their full maturity, they’re removed by hand, then harvested and hung to turn brown and dry.
Once the tobacco is cured, it’s taken to a facility to ferment. After fermentation, the tobacco is packed up and stored away to age.
After a few years, the tobacco is unpacked and rehydrated.
The outer wrapper leaves are also destemmed.
Then, the cigars are bunched and rolled by hand. Finally, they’re sent to the aging room where they’re boxed and sent out.
Smoking Cigars: Sharing Your New Knowledge
With all these facts in mind, you hopefully have a new appreciation for smoking cigars.
And, you can share these interesting facts with your smoking buddies.
Also, be sure to browse our online magazine for some more healthy lifestyle tips!