A day of reckoning has come to the smoking community. For decades, antismoking advocates have insisted that if only tobacco enthusiasts knew smoking was unhealthy, they would quit smoking. When warning labels didn’t work, the crusaders pushed for more direct labels. The next step was television commercials, followed by more and more graphic commercials, all illuminating the fictively recreated Truth of inevitable disease, decay and death. Yet somehow, to the astonishment of the anti-tobacco army, people continued to smoke.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act has now banned all flavored (that means clove!) cigarettes — with the curious exception of menthol — as they are considered more appealing to teenagers and thus a “gateway cigarette.” Has Poland been invaded? Must all we freedom-loving smokers unite to take down what 20 years of appeasement have brought us?

But I’ve never even smoked a cigarette. I don’t like their cheap, chopped-up tobacco, their paper wrappers, or their intrusive filters. I don’t like their added chemicals, exorbitant cost or addictive qualities. In fact, a lot of family and friends have died from cigarette addiction. Moreover, the legislators are right: Adults don’t smoke cloves. While I’m sure they’re delicious, these crackly treats generally fall out of fashion after the NYU graduation ceremony. But not even all flavored sticks are illegal: Smokers who don’t like the taste of tobacco can still smoke menthol!

When we cigar enthusiasts smoke, we do so for pleasure and relaxation, not for addiction and peer pressure. We take smoke into our mouths, swirl it around and release it into the air; we do not force it into our lungs until it finally squirms its way into our blood streams. Sure, we may unite with cigarette smokers when their interests align with ours; Stalin looks pretty good when Hitler’s on the march. This does not mean, however, that we agree with Stalin, and our frequent strategic alliance should not be confused for a homogenous bloc. Let’s puff our cigars, and let us leave the nicotine-addicted child off our consciences. Give the legislators their due victory, lest they come for us innocently bystanding cigar smokers, too.

Review: Camacho Liberty 2009

Strength: Medium

Shape: Torpedo

Cost: ~$19

Though the individual wooden coffin in which one purchases this stick is a bit much, the Camacho Liberty 2009 lives up to the grandiosity of its packaging, perhaps partly because of the box’s gentle press. The wrapper is delightfully oily, the draw easy and the smoke abundant. Its chocolate overtones make this cigar a perfect companion to espresso and dim lighting. With only 40,000 produced and our smokers’ rights ever-eroding, be sure to secure your Liberty before it’s too late. A/A-