Recently Cigar Aficionado published an article that obliterated the notion that teenagers are smoking cigars in larger numbers to the point that legislation is needed to protect them. Most of us already knew it was bullshit but when I come across arguments that the youth are increasingly smoking more handmade premium cigars it upsets me deeply. Why? Because we know that it’s a ploy to get to the bigger play which is to regulate the entire premium handmade cigar industry.
One of the primary reasons why the FDA put handmade cigars on its radar was due to the fictitious spike in teenagers smoking cigars. A shallow and poorly performed analysis was used to justify the legislation by basically stating that any tubular shaped bundle of tobacco was considered a premium cigar (i.e. machine made Philly blunts, machine made flavored cigars, and cheap cigarillos). If kids go to a gas station for a Philly to roll a blunt it was considered a cigar purchase. Another example is a teenager purchasing a $2 machine made flavored cigar from a highway gas station or bodega. In both of these instances the teenager is not engaged in the act of smoking a premium handmade cigar. But never mind that!
I have a different argument that requires no million dollar report from a team of surveyors and ivy league consultants. It simply asks, what is the cost of being a cigar lover? It is well outside of the financial wherewithal of most teenagers and young adults so let's add it up.
The cost of a premium handmade cigar can range from anywhere to 10 - $50 on average, yes that is a huge range so let's stick with say 12 bucks. The cost of a cigar cutter can range from anywhere between 20 to $200 but let's go with 30 bucks for a cutter (I have paid over a hundred and I have 4 of them). The cost of a cigar lighter can range from anywhere between 20 to $600 so lets go with very conservative 50 bucks for a decent lighter. The cost of a humidor can range from anywhere from 100 to $5,000 but for the sake of argument let's go with 200 bucks for a humidor. Most humidors are filled with anywhere from 100 to 1000 cigars at 12 bucks per cigar we are talking about 1200 to 12000 dollars worth of cigars but for the sake of argument let's stick with the minimum $1200 (the price lowers when boxes are purchased). In addition, the humidor has to be maintained which is not an expensive activity but it is a very meticulous thing to do especially when you're considering the capricious lives of teenagers. The cigars have to be handled in a very careful manner; they have to be humidified between 67 and 72% humidity; and they have to be maintained at a steady temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, a teenager would have to have the vigilance to allow the cigars to age thereby ruining the instant gratification of spending $10 and expecting to smoke a cigar. Full stop, a $1500 investment is out of the reach of a typical teenager. Furthermore, many cigar smokers visit cigar lounges frequently and purchase a locker/membership and additional cigars. Case and point, when you add up the cost of cigars, lighters, cutters, humidors, and the actual time that it takes to preserve those cigars you in the upwards of thousands of dollars. Teenagers and young adults simply are not going to allocate thousands of dollars towards what is considered by many to be an acquired taste.
Stop with this foolishness!