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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent