But that also means a cigar isn't always just a cigar, even in the literal sense. In an era where progressive busybodies have taken to micro-regulation of choice (grocery bags, Big Gulps, goldfish, Happy Meals, golf), it was only a matter of time before the cultural mullahs who want to ban cigarettes (but legalize pot) turned their sights on cigars.
Now, cigars are like anything else - if you eat too much ice cream, you are going to have problems. If you play too much Xbox, you are going to have problems. And if you smoke 20 cigars a day, you will have problems. But cigars are not cigarettes any more than mouthwash is Bourbon. You don't inhale them(2). They don't cause lung cancer and you have to consume so many to spike your chances of getting any mouth cancer that it is barely a statistical blip. Cigar medical issues are so infrequent they are in the 'cured by homeopathy' noise range.
The FDA, lacking any sort of legitimate science or reason for health concerns, still wants to kill anything related to tobacco and it got that power under a new 2009 law, the same year that got us a law stating 25-year-olds were not adults. So they have created some bizarre belief that cigars are being marketing to kids.
You care about the children, right?
Now, I guess any cartoon character can be considered as 'marketing to kids' in America, where clueless FDA bureaucrats never heard of anime, so maybe they think cigarettes are marketed to kids, but has anyone been in a cigar store and witnessed a kid trying to buy one? Do kids subscribe to Cigar Aficionado? Of course not. Even the House Appropriations Committee took the time to remind the FDA that "premium cigars have unique characteristics and cost prohibitive price points and are not marketed to kids. Any effort to regulate cigars should take these items into consideration."
Or not. But there is a practical reason even religiously anti-choice types should not want the FDA spinning its wheels on this one; people are just about maxed out on how much they can pay in taxes - and yesterday the Supreme Court handed us all 21 new ones. Government union employees already make more than the private sector, while still considering themselves "civil service", so we can't just keep hiring more. Bill Spann, CEO of the International Premium Cigar&Pipe Retailers Association, put it succinctly to AP writer Michael Felderbaum: "If you're going to focus your efforts on regulating tobacco products to meet the spirit and intent of the Tobacco Control Act, where is best to spend those scarce resources — on a tenth of a percent of the market or on a huge chunk of the market?"
Basically, .025% of tobacco revenue is for a cigar. Is the FDA going to create a special bureau for local microbreweries too, so they will stop 'marketing to kids'? Hyper-regulating yet another segment of the American economy, and placing 85,000 small business jobs around the country at risk, is a dopey idea in the rational world. We can't exist on the DOE's alternative energy subsidies alone.
Cigars don't cause cancer and cigar retailers and manufacturers are not marketing to children.
But those pipe people? Maybe. Look at this insidious marketing campaign from commonly read literature when I was a kid.
Curious George, shill for Big Pipe.
That didn't cause any children of the '60s to smoke a pipe(3) - even social psychologists couldn't interview enough undergraduates to claim it did. Unfortunately for modern children, they are far more stupid, gullible and easily manipulated than my generation - at least in the minds of the busybody progressives behind more laws to solve problems that don't exist.
(1) He also said, in A Difficulty in the Path of Psycho-Analysis that "The sexual life of adult women is a “dark continent” for psychology" - he nailed that one too.
Edit July 17th, 2012. The attribution of the cigar and Freud is common, but apocryphal. Please see this comment.
(2) Though I have seen Koreans do it. They are very tough people.
(3) They are better at marketing than cigar people. If you buy a copy of Cigar Aficionado, you will get someone like Danny Devito on the cover.
Pipes Magazine has girls who look like this: