Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Week for the week of July 31. Read the full tasting note:
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Cigars Are Not Just For Special Occasions
Cigars are often seen as more classy and for special occasions, but they can also be addictive and dangerous. Cigar smoking increases the risk of several medical conditions and diseases, including cancer, and is linked to lung disease and heart disease.
A cigar is a small, tightly rolled bundle of fermented and air-cured tobacco that is wrapped in a leaf tobacco wrapper. It is made by hand and contains from around 1 gram to 20 g of tobacco. One cigar usually contains a single type of tobacco. Cigars are different from cigarettes because cigar smokers don’t inhale, while most cigarette smokers do inhale. Cigars are a separate product category from cigarettes for tax purposes, and many state taxes on cigars are lower than those on cigarettes.
After fermentation, cigar leaves are packed into tight parcels called bales for aging. This process lends the tobacco a bit of polish and maturity, while helping to rid it of vegetal or “green” flavors. The flavor notes of a cigar are more redolent of almond, raisin and orange blossom when it is aged properly.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authority to regulate all tobacco products, including little cigars, cigarillos and so-called premium cigars. The American Lung Association supports FDA oversight of these products, and supports implementing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act requirements to establish age verification and marketing restrictions for cigars. Tobacco companies should be required to submit pre-market applications to manufacture new flavors of cigars, and must be prevented from advertising these products in ways that appeal to youth.