A burning issue

WHEN Kipling wrote '. . . a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a Smoke', feminism and anti-smoking campaigns were not even clouds on the horizon. Now, a magazine that brazenly embraces the Kipling principle easily qualifies as the year's most politically incorrect publication, writes Michael Leapman.

The first quarterly issue of Cigar Aficionado goes on sale in Britain and the US this week. It is the creation of Marvin Shanken, a New York magazine publisher. He is a militant cigar smoker, and keeps 5,000 of them in a humidor in his office.

For him, the new magazine is clearly a combination of commercial venture and a chance to campaign for a cause never far from his lips - 'We cigar smokers are treated like lepers.'

All the articles are by men. The writer Gay Talese (Honor Thy Father) complains about being criticised for cigar-smoking in the streets of New York, mainly by women. 'Have some angry members of the women's movement defined cigars as a vestige of that bygone era of male clannishness and exclusivity?' he wonders.

The media correspondent of the Los Angeles Times recalls having been asked to put out a cigar at a baseball match before he had even lit it, and tells of men who have had the things ripped from their mouths and been punched in the face for their habit.

The letters column, 'Out of the Humidor', is packed with complaints of persecution, inspired by Mr Shanken's pre-publication advertising; e g, 'The lady below us has tried to stop me from smoking cigars in my own apartment.'

Along with consumer tests and close-up pictures of the fragrant leaf, there are articles about great moments in cigar-smoking history. Pierre Salinger, former press secretary to President Kennedy, recalls the latter's fondness for the distinctly undersized Petit Upmann. Mr Salinger was sent out to buy 1,000 of them the day before Kennedy introduced his ban on importing Cuban cigars.

Though oppressed, cigar smokers are not insolvent. Mr Shanken has had 40,000 requests for subscriptions, and research suggests that the average annual income of potential subscribers is pounds 100,000. His magazine costs pounds 4 in Britain, a little less than a good Havana. There are many who will want nothing more than to roll it up and set light to it.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teacher Required in Grays

£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee