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Smoke & Swagger: How Cigars Defined Action Heroes & Gentlemen For A Generation!

Sean Connery James Bond Cigar Smoking

I recall a curious discovery I made while looking through old drawers in a forgotten cabinet one rainy, cold, typical British afternoon in the 1980's.

It was in our family home in Yorkshire, before the internet, before I had any siblings and before the evening cartoons had started on TV.

Five-year-old me went exploring, hoping to discover some kind of old treasure map and go on my own Goonies-like adventure.

I managed to ply open a drawer in an old mahogany cabinet that had seemingly been stuck for as long as I could remember. Buried amongst old letters and documents were no treasure maps but I did discover some curious brown sticks covered in cellophane.

I asked my mom what they were and she immediately retorted without hesitation that they were bad and how I should not look through my dad’s old things.

Turns out I had discovered some old cigars, a glimpse of the mysterious single life my father had once led before marrying my mother and making his bachelor pad our family home.

I had never once seen my father enjoy a cigar but he had been the very definition of a gentleman my whole life and this memory would serve as the foundation for my journey into the world of cigars.

Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, the cigar as an icon of manliness and class was only further reinforced.

The A-Team Hannibal Cigar Smoking

The cigar was a celebratory treat, it wasn’t for the average guy, it was for action heroes and gentlemen.

Will Smith Independence Day Cigar Celebration

Will Smith Jeff Goldblum Independence Day Cigar

Van Damme, Stallone and Schwarzenegger all made cigar smoking the go to past time for any hardened action heroes. It was the key differentiator in Van Damme's portrayal of streetwise Alex and pampered twin brother softie, Chad, in the movie Double Impact.

Jean-Claude Van Damme Double Impact Cigar

Arnold Schwarzenegger Dutch Predator Cigar

However, it was one character that specifically made cigar smoking classy.

James Bond!

Roger Moore James Bond Cigar

Roger Moore, stepping into Sean Connery’s big shoes, added his own stamp to the James Bond character by swapping out average Joe cigarettes for high-end cigars.

Moore even went as far as having it written into his contract that he be provided an unlimited supply of Montecristo cigars.

Roger Moore James Bond Cigar

There are thousands of stories about Roger Moore and what a gentleman he was both on and off screen.

Pierce Brosnan also continued this legacy both as Bond and beyond.

Pierce Brosnan James Bond Cigar

Pierce Brosnan James Bond Cigar

Here’s a showreel of some cigar loving icons from the big and small screen (including one pic of Roger Moore with a normal cigarette 'coz he looks so damn cool) which helped to mould an entire generation of cigar lovers, myself included.

I guess it's hardly any surprise that I would ultimately end up being something of a cigar collector one day.

You may be thinking about the health consequences and make no mistake, cigars are in no shape or form good for your physical health! Notice I did not say mental health, as for many gents, cigars are a way to unwind and negotiate the challenges of life.

Pierce Brosnan James Bond Cigar

The big thing to remember when talking about cigars, is that you don't inhale the smoke into your lungs like you do with cigarettes.

Think of it like this, which would be more detrimental to your health - drinking wine or tasting wine and then spitting it out (recracher) as you would when wine tasting at a French vineyard.

Of course drinking the wine would be far worse!

Cigar smoking is akin to wine tasting while cigarette smoking, vaping and shisha (hookah) are all more akin to wine drinking.

With cigars, you simply taste the smoke and then discard the smoke, blowing it out slowly, while looking like a boss!

On top of this, cigarettes are factory made with the filler being made up mostly of tobacco waste products that would ordinarily be thrown away. This is then combined with flavourings and additives to make them taste palatable. In the UK, 600 different additives are approved for use in cigarettes!

Premium cigars on the other hand are meticulously hand made by skilled craftsmen from only one ingredient, tobacco leaves.

As a result, the associated risks of lung cancer and respiratory diseases are much much lower.

The next thing to take note of are the differences in smoking behaviour. While it's common to see people smoke an entire pack of 20 cigarettes every day, no one smokes cigars that way. I personally only enjoy one cigar every one to two months, making the associated health risks lower still.

For anyone drinking alcohol every week, smoking cigarettes daily, eating lots of junk food, not exercising, the health consequences of all these lifestyle habits are likely to be far worse than enjoying a quarterly cigar.

Cigars, much like fountain pens and time pieces, can be an expensive but very enjoyable rabbit hole for collectors to venture into. Even without lighting up, I find myself often admiring my humidor and growing collection of cigars and cigar related accessories.

But as a doctor, I have to reiterate once again - do not start smoking cigars! You might look suave like Lieutenant Columbo but it's bad for you!

Columbo Peter Falk Cigar

Make sure you stay tuned for the rest of my cigar series where I will go into everything you will need to know to enjoy collecting cigars and appreciate this rather unique art form.

Stay classy friends & welcome to the upper ranks of action heroes and gentlemen!

Dr. Bobby Stryker

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Juliana Stryker
Juliana Stryker
22 Ιουν

Wow! This is a very interesting post! I learnt so much about cigars and the gentlemen lifestyle from this. 👍

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