Smoking Cigars

The following e-mail might have been well-intended, but not only the subject line has too much of a condescending and dismissive tone to it.

Subject: Brainwashed by photographs of writers and other intellectuals
From: Andy Kopra (andykopra@mac.com)
To: Andreas Moser (moser@moser-law.com)
Sent: 28 September 2011, 2243 hrs

“Just follow the cigar smoke.”   [from your blog]

Smoking killed my father. Smoking isn’t impressive or sophisticated, it’s an addiction that causes health problems. And when you die early, it will hurt everyone who cares about you.

Perhaps it’s none of my business, but after all, a blog assumes that you do want everybody to care about your business.

Sincerely,
      Andy Kopra
 

I agree that smoking is not healthy, that it can contribute to your premature death or cause horribly painful illnesses. But I knew all of that when I picked up the habit.

Trying to be impressive or sophisticated is not the reason behind my affinity for cigars. In fact, I mostly smoke when I am alone in a forest, on top of a mountain or at a beautiful beach, where nobody can find me.

I enjoy cigars. I enjoy the taste, I enjoy looking after the clouds of smoke that I puff out and that still hang in the air for a few seconds until they are dispersed by the wind.

Cigars have something special that cigarettes don’t have, which is why I don’t even touch cigarettes. For a cigar, you need time and preferably idyllic quietness. Smoking a cigar may take anything between 30 and 90 minutes, so when I light up I know that I don’t want to be disturbed for the next hour or so. I turn off my phone, seek out a peaceful spot next to the lake, take a book with me and forget about all my sorrows for a while.

As Thomas Mann wrote in “The Magic Mountain”:

I never can understand how anyone can not smoke—it deprives a man of the best part of life … with a good cigar in his mouth a man is perfectly safe, nothing can touch him—literally.

It might not have been a coincidence that I had always been against smoking, especially in public, but then picked up my first cigar exactly in 2008, when Bavaria (where I lived back then) outlawed smoking in restaurants. Although I support the state’s right to ban smoking wherever there are non-smokers present and I think there are even valid arguments for banning smoking outright in countries with a universal healthcare system where non-smokers could be asked to pay the lung-cancer treatment of a chain smoker, the rebel inside me doesn’t like laws, rules and paternalism.

a perfect day on the porch: a cigar and “Süddeutsche Zeitung”

Guadalajara, Mexico

Baltic Sea, Curonian Spit, Lithuania

Baltic Sea, Curonian Spit, Lithuania

cigar sunset

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a journalist, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Health, Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Smoking Cigars

  1. John Erickson says:

    You’re never going to convert somebody with an Email Subject line that’s insulting. Strike 1. Making assumptions about the reader never goes over well, either. Strike 2. And that “having a blog assumes you want everybody to comment” is soundly strike 3 – he’s out. I can appreciate his wish to help you, and hi zeal against smoking, but something that quotes statistics, ONLY comments on the writer’s life as concrete examples, and encouraging you to stop would go over a heck of a lot better. It might not ACCOMPLISH anything, but it’d be a whole lot nicer to read!
    By the by, I’m against smoking, mostly because it aggravates my breathing. And I’d rather you not smoke, so that I might be selfish and keep you around for a while. But as long as you don’t blow smoke in my face (a real accomplishment via the Internet, no?), puff away if you must! :D

  2. Nish says:

    I don’t smoke, but I totally don’t get the madness of the anti-cigarette brigade. Sure, smoking is bad for health, but it’s a free world…As long as no one is inconvenienced (smoking in front of a pregnant woman, blowing smoke into people’s faces), and other bad behavior, I really don’t think it’s anyone’s business to lecture someone (a blogger no less, not even someone in person) about smoking. The nerve!

  3. ladderff says:

    Although I support the state’s right to ban smoking wherever there are non-smokers present and I think there are even valid arguments for banning smoking outright in countries with a universal healthcare system where non-smokers could be asked to pay the lung-cancer treatment of a chain smoker, the rebel inside me doesn’t like laws, rules and paternalism.

    With rebels like these, who needs oppressors? I’m sorry, Andreas, because I appreciate both this post’s sentiment and the gentlemanly way you expressed it, but this simply isn’t good enough. They want to take your cigars, and anything else that might bring a man joy, and you’re apologizing for them.

  4. I’ve always found it interesting that smokers draw a distinction between cigarettes and cigars. To me, they’re all the same. My dad is a cigar smoker, and he has convinced himself that it’s not hazardous because he “doesn’t inhale.” Personally, I think they’re ALL stinky and bad for you.

    The thing is, we all partake in things that are not good for us. As the oldage goes, “why is it so bad for me when it looks/tastes/feels so good?!” I think the rule of “everything in moderation applies here. I just have a personal preference that it doesn’t happen around me. :)

  5. Pingback: Leaving London, Moving to Malta | Publish or Perish – Andreas Moser's Blog

  6. Karl Abela says:

    Smoking in Malta is more tolerated (except in public closed buildings) probably because of the open air life style that we have. The warmer weather draws everyone outside for many social events for most of the year. Of course this could be masking the smoking problem because like this noone bothers anyone and not many think much about it. That said, the health statistics are nothing to be proud of.

    Karl,
    Malta.

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    A letter from a doctor on shs

    Robert E. Madden MD, FACS. I am also a non-smoker. HOWEVER I am a passionate opponent smoking bans. Most of the opposition to the smoking bans has been based upon economic factors such as loss of business revenue, even closings. My opposition is due to loss of individual freedom and abuse of scientific fact.

    I am a practicing chest surgeon, a teacher and a former cancer researcher. I am also past president of the NY Cancer Society. I will not tell you that smoking is harmless and without risk, in fact one in eight hundred smokers will develop lung cancer. Asthmatics should avoid tobacco smoke. What I will say is: 1) it’s a personal choice and 2) so called second smoke (ETS) is virtually harmless. One may not like the smell but it has not been shown to cause cancer, even in bartenders. If people do not like the odor then they may go elsewhere. Those who support the ban have no right to deny 24% of the adult population their enjoyment of a popular product based on dislike, possibly hatred of smoking. This attitude is that of a bigot, akin to anti-Semitism or racism.

    To me the most offensive element of the smoking bans is the resort to science as “proving that environmental smoke, second hand smoke, causes lung cancer”. Not only is this unproven but there is abundant and substantial evidence to the contrary. It is frustrating, even insulting, for a scientist like myself to hear the bloated statistics put out by the American Cancer Society (of which I am a member) and the American Lung Association used to justify what is best described as a political agenda. Smokers enjoy smoking. Most non-smokers are neutral. Anti-smokers hate smoking. It is this last group that drives the engine of smoking bans. Smoking sections in restaurants, ventilated bars and the like have been satisfactory and used for years. To those who choose to smoke they do so at their own risk. To those eschew smoking let them patronize establishments whose owners prohibit smoking. To impose a city wide or a state wide ban is to deny people of their rights.

    Respectfully,
    Robert E. Madden, M.D

  8. Hello Andreas,
    In addition to your post I was wondering, Cigar smoking is considered much less harmful to the health than cigarette smoking. In recent times, a lot of cigarette smokers who have shifted to smoking cigars believe that it has less health risks, although this has not been proved scientifically. It is widely assumed so, because cigars are considered to have less content of tobacco than cigarettes.
    I look forward to your next post
    False

  9. Pingback: New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 | The Happy Hermit – Andreas Moser's Blog

  10. James says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I see you visited Guadalajara. Did you enjoy Mexico? Would you consider living there (if so, where), if only for a time?
    Also, may I ask what factors caused you to choose Malta over some of the other Med. islands, such as Mallorca, Sardinia, Corsica? Was it the extreme southern location? If so, why not the Canaries, for instance? Or was it the fact that English is widely spoken? Just wondering about the criteria you used–one can always learn from others.

    Best wishes for the New Year!

    • Hello James,
      I would actually consider living in Mexico very much! But I would prefer to live somewhere in the South or a more rural area. I really liked Guadalajara. I was also in Monterrey, but I found it too “American”. It felt and looked like Arizona in Spanish. To be honest, the drug war and the kidnappings also were a bit of a concern.
      The choice for Malta was a rather spontaneous one because I found a place here with a very low rent, so it was the cheapest option of all the Mediterranean countries. I think I would equally enjoy it anywhere else. It doesn’t even need to be an island.
      The language in Malta was not a factor, I actually would have preferred to move somewhere where I would learn a new language (especially Italian, French or Spanish), but as I wrote, the place that I found could not be beaten in price.
      Another advantage of Malta (versus Turkey or Northern Africa) is of course that it is an EU member state, so that I as a German citizen am subject to hardly any immigration restrictions.
      Are you planning to relocate as well?

  11. James says:

    Thanks for the kind reply! Well, right now I live in Mexico, on the Baja peninsula. I like the weather–warm and dry, and this place has no violence problems, also the population density is low. There are many agreeable places in the country, however. I would move if the security question would become serious–not too likely for the time being here. If I had to move it would definitely be to Latin America–maybe northern Argentina. I like the wide open spaces and lots of silent nature. Also warm and dry on the western part. I would also consider Brazil, in the northeast (fantastic beaches), but I am a little afraid of getting dengue again (I got it living in Puerto Vallarta–I’m no longer there). Believe me, you don’t want to get dengue. Two weeks of sheer hell.

    Best wishes!

  12. Pingback: Living the Life of a Pensioner | The Happy Hermit – Andreas Moser's Blog

  13. Lena says:

    It was interesting to read this blog.

  14. Joe says:

    JOE says;
    Many people have said that non-smokers should not pay to treat smokers’ illnesses brought upon
    themselves under a state-run health service.

    What these people forget is that, over decades as in my case, smokers have paid thousands of pounds into the country’s coffers by way of tobacco tax.

    So yes, if I’m struck down by a smoking-related illness, I expect to be treated by the Health Service
    like everyone else!

    Each to his own tastes!

    Happy smoking(for some of us)

    Joe

    • This approach has a few problems:
      – Taxes, unlike fees, are not paid for certain services. You don’t know and nobody can tell you which aircraft carrier or which street light you are financing with your taxes. They go into the general budget.
      – If taxes would entitle us to receive certain services, this would in consequence entitle payers of high taxes to more services or special treatment.
      – What about smokers who pay no taxes because they smoke illegal cigarettes, self-grown tobacco or who always smoked in another country before returning to their home country for retirement when they find out about their lung cancer?

  15. Pingback: Moving to Lithuania | The Happy Hermit

  16. Pingback: Book Review: “Golden Holocaust” by Robert Proctor | The Happy Hermit

  17. Tom says:

    Zitat:”Those who support the ban have no right to deny 24% of the adult population their enjoyment of a popular product based on dislike, possibly hatred of smoking. This attitude is that of a bigot, akin to anti-Semitism or racism.”

    Signed “respectfully”
    Just think again.

    • No, it’s not the same. Smoking is a voluntary behaviour and there are good reasons why non-smokers do not wish to foot the bill for smoking-related illnesses. If you look carefully, I am sure you will detect the 100 differences to racism and anti-Semitism yourself.

  18. Pingback: What to do for New Year’s Eve? | The Happy Hermit

  19. Pingback: Good Intentions | The Happy Hermit

  20. Jenks says:

    You are a fucking loser.

  21. Pingback: The Phone Call from Russia | The Happy Hermit

Please leave your comments, questions, suggestions:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s