The smoking of cigars has always been a special treat for the rich, the accomplished, and the powerful. Cigar smoking in England became a ‘must have favorite experience’ as well as a status symbol of the rich and the powerful. In 1901, King Edward VII announced his acclaimed proclamation. Throughout history, men of leadership like writers, politicians, kings and famous actors have been known to have smoked the cigar. Such memorable stars like the comedian Groucho Marx, had always appeared with a cigar in his mouth. The famous producer of mystery thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock, was always seen puffing on a cigar.
Now, when one sees pictures of Prime Minister Winston Churchill puffing on a cigar while giving one of his powerful speeches on fighting the Nazis on the land, and on the sea, and in the skies, one wonders immediately how he became enchanted with cigar smoking.
For Churchill, the cigar was always being puffed on, and it became identified with, synonymous with the causes that he was fighting for. The cigar was his symbol of defiance, his symbol of victory, his symbol of British strength, his way of puffing and blowing away the Nazis. King George of England, the father of the present day Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth had a specially designed mug crafted for Churchill. The handle on the mug had to be designed to show the angle at which Churchill smoked his cigar. Once when he went into an airplane during the war, he had his oxygen mask redesigned so that it had a well-crafted hole where the cigar would fit in so that he could smoke the cigar while flying on the plane.
When Churchill was a young fellow, it was required for a man to prove himself by going off to war and coming back victorious. It was for that reason that Churchill visited the Island of Cuba with his friend, another officer of the British Armed Services, Reginald Barnes. Cuba at that time was rumored to be rebelling from its mother country, Spain. Not having been met by their assigned chaperon, the two men signed into a very prestigious, expensive hotel. They spent their time eating oranges and smoking cigars, two commodities which Cuba boasted as being plentiful. When Churchill came back to England, he continued smoking cigars. He even had the cigars shipped to his summer home in Chartwell Manor in Kent, England. He stacked the shelves of the room with thousands of cigars adjacent to his study. The Churchill Cigar, the cigar in which was named after him, was known for the experienced smoker, and he was most certainly that.
Popularity has steadily been growing for the cigar in the last few decades. Cigars are taxed less than cigarettes and there aren’t as many health prohibitions against them as there are with cigarettes. Despite its continuing embargo against Cuba, the United States can boast as the top consumer of cigars. The U.S. imports most of its cigars from the Dominican Republic, the place where the Cuban cigar businesses relocated themselves after the embargo. Germany consumes the second largest amount of cigars, and the United Kingdom following Churchill’s example of smoking on cigars, consumes the third largest amount of them in the world.
Fun Fact: Back in 2013 in the UK , there was the beginning of the international contest for the Cigar Smoker Award of the Year. That year, Simon le Bow was given the award. In 2014, Arnold Schwarzenegger won the prestigious award.