Some of the most famous men in history have smoked cigars. Be it statesmen, writers, philosophers, scientists, entertainers, or athletes, these gentlemen have changed the world with a cigar clenched firmly in their teeth. But with the November elections not far off, we thought we would take a decidedly non-partisan look at the most famous political smokers in history.
- Winston Churchill—Admit it, you knew that Churchill would have to be the first on our list. The greatest British statesman of the twentieth century (perhaps of all time), Churchill was an orator of the highest power, delivering speeches that inspired and moved the British people during the dark days of World War II and the blitzkrieg. And he did all of this while smoking a cigar. It is his commitment to cigar smoking (he allegedly smoked eight to ten a day) and his world renown that led the cigar industry to name one of the most popular cigar sizes after him, the Churchill.
- John F. Kennedy—JFK has two close connections to cigars and cigar smoking. First, he was an avid smoker himself. And secondly, at the height of the Cold War, he signed into law the trade embargo with Cuba that made Cuban cigars, arguably the greatest in the world, illegal in the United States. But before he did this, he rather famously ordered as many of the soon-to-be-contraband stogies rounded up for his own personal collection.
- Fidel Castro—On the other side of the Cuban Embargo was the famous revolutionary leader and his ubiquitous cigar. Who would have imagined that this small island leader (and his cigar) would outlast ten U.S. Presidents and still be going?
- Tom Delay—The beleaguered former Speaker of the House was famous in cigar circles for one bit of hypocrisy. Delay was one of the biggest opponents of lifting the trade embargo on Cuba, citing the need to bring down Castro’s dictatorship. But he was also snapped in an infamous picture smoking a Cuban cigar which runs around $25 a pop.
- Bill Clinton—Don’t worry, we aren’t even going to go there. But, this famous ex-president has been equally famous for chewing on cigars while enjoying a round or two on the golf course earning him a spot on our list.
- King Edward VII—Not an elected official, but a statesman nonetheless, King Edward VII of England took the throne in 1901 and immediately reversed the edict banning smoking which had been established by his mother, Queen Victoria. Edward was also known for his overindulgences, sometimes polishing off a dozen cigars in one day. (And we also have to give him a mention on this list just for the fact that his father, Prince Albert, gave his name to the infamous “Prince Albert in a can” joke.)
- Arnold Schwarzenegger—Another member of the Kennedy family (at least a former one that is), Schwarzenegger seems to have done everything under the sun. But when he announced that he was running for governor of California, many people thought he had overstepped his boundaries. But of course, that was two terms ago. Schwarzenegger’s love of cigars is almost as much a part of his personality as his heavy Austrian accent and buff body-builder physique.
Some politicians have been famous for trying to keep their use of cigarettes under wraps during campaigns, especially since cigarette smoking has fallen out of vogue with most voters. But these politicians embraced their love of cigars and were proud to be seen chomping on a cigar and, for that, we salute them.