While most of the uninitiated might consider the generic habit of smoking to be one thing, and one thing only, any cigar aficionado will be at great pains to tell you otherwise. While the smoking of cigarettes is something that most teenagers have tried, and increasingly is viewed socially as something a person does because they simply haven't managed to give up yet, cigar smoking is something akin to a hobby, and for many, a passion. While cigarette smoking is something you simple do, the smoking of cigars is done with panache, and like any other skilled pastime, there is a whole sub-culture that participates in it.
Because cigar smoking is undoubtedly a skilled art - as any common cigarette smoker can tell you after making the leap from what might be considered the waif of the smoking world, the paltry and ten-a-penny cigarette, to the voluptuous and charismatic cigar. Cigars have a depth that delves into all five senses, and a flavor that is completely unexpected by those familiar only with cigarettes. The novice cigar smoker will be nauseous and headachy for days! But apparently this is a barrier that is worth working through - you only have to mention cigars to an aficionado to hear them wax lyrical on the wonders of cigars.
Like fine wine, there is a wealth of different types of cigar available whose differences seem incomprehensibly subtle to the disinterested. It is a brave relative or friend who attempts an unguided shopping trip to purchase cigars for a loved one, as the variations available are overwhelming. And, because of the enthusiasm with which cigar lovers love their cigars, the wrong choice can cause a family rift that might linger for years.
Thankfully, the popularity of cigar smoking means that there are a variety of resources available to help, from magazines to websites, whether you are looking to purchase a gift, or simply pretend to be more knowledgeable when next in the company of a cigar smoker. Just remember - don't ask him if he would like a cigarette.
Jeff Lakie is the founder of Cigar Information a website providing information on Cigar Smoking