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Commentary: Options for the Cold-Weather Smoker

28 Oct 2013

Aside from our sunshine-advantaged friends in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and the like, winter is a tough time for cigar smokers in the U.S. Unfortunately, winter is coming fast.

Winter SmokingHumidors will require extra attention to keep from becoming too arid. Shipping cigars will become a riskier endeavor. And, worst of all, the wrath of government-imposed smoking bans will hit the hardest as aficionados clamor for rare indoor refuges from the cold.

In the not-too-distant past, back when I was living in Northern Virginia, there was no statewide smoking ban. This freedom resulted in options. Many bars, restaurants, etc. on their own accord were either completely smoke-free or not welcoming of cigars. I always respected that. But I also appreciated the less-numerous venues that catered to cigar smokers. In the winter, they became havens to escape the cold.

What a novel system. People who wanted to smoke or be around smoke could. People who wanted a smoke-free environment could have that, too. Isn’t choice great?

Nowadays, Virginia’s statewide ban prevents the market from dictating the availability of smoke-friendly locales. My current home of Chicago is no different. And chances are, wherever you happen to be reading this from, your national or local government is imposing laws that prevent business owners from catering to your needs. As I see it, your options for the cold winter months are as follows:

Tough it out and smoke outside.
— Severely limit your smoking to fewer cigars and/or smaller cigars.
— Purchase a paid membership at a club that allows indoor smoking.
— Smoke at a tobacconist (cigars you purchased at said tobacconist).
— Equip some portion of your home for smoking.

I’ve done the latter, though I still regret the fact that I had to do the latter. I lament that gone are the days when you could cozy up to the bar at a steakhouse for an after-dinner smoke. I hang my head because I know there are destinations in my neighborhood that would allow cigar smoking if the government didn’t prevent them from doing so. I assume you share these concerns.

So what are your plans for the winter?

-Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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