To Flavor - or Not to Flavor? That is the Question.

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When I walked through the door- I had the taste for a little something different that night.

I looked around - up on the top shelf was a nice cognac. Deep, rustic, and smooth. Might set the right tone... Right next to it was some sweet honey bourbon - like a summer night in Montgomery listenin' to tunes around a bonfire. They had a bold, dark stout there behind the counter, too. Bitter, and dark - but smooth - good enough to impress anyone down at the pub on St. Patrick’s Day. On the second shelf there were a few different rums. Some light - some dark - but all in all – looked sure to deliver a good time. I noticed they also had wine. Chill, sophisticated, and robust.

But I wanted something different that evening – something sweet, but not too sweet, that would go perfect for the evening. Then I found it - in the corner to the right of the Copenhagen. Kahlua and chocolate perfectly blended together -Backwoods Russian Cream.

I asked the guy behind the register to grab me a couple - handed him a five spot, grabbed my cigars and change and was out the door. 

Flavored cigars have really grown up recently. They had to. Not sure if you were aware, but there’s a few folks in Washington who claim that flavors coax our youth to smoke. Across the years - there admittedly have been some questionable flavors that went on the market from time to time. But for the most part – those were put out by unscrupulous manufacturers who likely had no regard to follow any laws or rules in the first place - much less give a damn about their own customers health or well-being. Hell, the filler tobacco they used was questionably not even tobacco. And those companies also thought it would be a good idea to make them in flavors that didn’t exactly scream that they were intended for adults.

Folks, I hate to tell you - but the tobacco industry has been around since the 1500's and is run by a pretty small group. Look up the parent companies of your favorite tobacco brands and you’ll begin to realize that most of them are all owned by the same parent corporations. So - would it make sense that any of these huge conglomerate tobacco companies would waste their time and money trying to find the perfect ingredients in their labs to attract 14-year-old's with their products and put their whole industry in jeopardy? Especially in light of the recent pull back on flavored vaping products that are popular with minors - any manufacturer would be foolish to put money behind any product that remotely appears to be directed to anyone under 18 - or even 21 nowadays. 

Listen, I’m not telling you smoking is an amazing health choice. But honestly - some people really need to calm down about those of us who enjoy a cigar once in a while. The statistics paint a picture like flavored tobacco products are an epidemic. Certain states and districts are banning flavored products from the shelves. But just like any stat - the sample used can prove a point and not show you the whole picture...

Again - I’ll repeat - smoking kills. I know that. We ALL know that. But I hate to say it – I don’t feel bad for the idiot who's been smoking for years and says, “But nobody ever told me these things might harm me if I smoke a pack of them a day - I should sue somebody over this...”. I’m pretty sure the measures that retailers and manufacturers have taken over the years to inform the public about the dangers of smoking have gotten the word out successfully that SMOKING CAN KILL YOU - and if you haven’t seen them – you are living under a rock and probably haven’t stepped into a convenience store, anyway.

Listen, I know a lot of people - and I'm sure you do too - who smoke leisurely and have lived long, healthy lives. Folks – it’s like the old saying goes – everything in moderation. If you’re downing a pack a day for the last twenty years – we doubt your running marathons. But do we ban products to the responsible masses simply because a few choose to overindulge in it? If that's the case - I got a list of products that somebody should look into. 

So - to get to the point - everybody wants to blame someone – just like they have for decades now - and it will likely result in higher taxes for flavored tobacco products since I don't believe anyone can ever really put an end to smoking altogether. But for anyone to imply that someone who smokes excessively is doing it because they can’t get enough of the delicious grape flavor is ridiculous.

So - for the time being, enjoy those cigars with your favorite flavors responsibly and hope that the worst thing Congress will do is maybe charge a little more for the privilege to smoke them. 


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