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Stogie Commentary: You Don’t Have to Raise Your Pinkie

29 Apr 2010

When you see cigars mentioned in a newspaper, it’s often to highlight some study on the dangers of smoking, herald a proposed tax increase, or as a prop in characterizing the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

pict-patricia-rossiSo imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when the Tampa Tribune devoted much of its travel/lifestyle section front to cigar etiquette. The illustrated do’s and don’ts kicked off a new column written by Patricia Rossi (pictured), “America’s etiquette and protocol coach” who who speaks, writes, and appears on TV.

Of course, Tampa calls itself Cigar City and hosts numerous cigar events—often in the Ybor City area that was once a cigar-making hub. Nonetheless, I was intrigued about the subject selection and exchanged emails with Rossi for some insight.

It turns out she’s not a regular cigar smoker, though she does enjoy them on occasion. “Just when my dad visits from North Carolina,” she wrote. “We go to Ybor and have a cigar.” I also wondered whether she was concerned about the reaction her column might draw from anti-tobacco forces. Not at all, she said, adding that smoking cigars is one of “about a billion social situations” that can require subtle navigation.” In fact, Rossi said reactions she and the reporter who collaborated with her received have been positive.

Most of the items in her compilation of cigar etiquette will be familiar to regular smokers, such as admonitions not to crush a stick as if it were a cigarette and not to dip the head in a drink. She also offers suggestions like enjoy the taste and aroma without inhaling.

And what’s the most common faux pas committed by cigar smokers? Rossi said it was handling and smelling the sticks too much. “They touch where people’s mouth will be smoking,” she said. “I think it’s important to take in the aroma from the foot of the cigar.”

You can find an interactive version of Rossi’s full article on cigar etiquette here.

George E

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One Response to “Stogie Commentary: You Don’t Have to Raise Your Pinkie”

  1. Quagmire Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    I'd raise my pinkie if she asked me to. Giggity giggity!