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The Surprising Popularity of Cigar Smoking
The practice of cigar smoking has been on the rise in the U.S. since the early 90's. In part due to a reputation as a glamorous alternative to cigarette smoking, the increase can also be tied to its popularity among celebrities, as well as to the social nature of its practice. But whatever the reason, it is clear that cigars are big business in the U.S. with higher sales of premium brands each and every year.
Magazines like Cigar Aficionado portray cigar smoking as alluring, and perhaps slightly risqué (particularly for women), and so the hobby strikes a cord with young Americans. Celebrities are often photographed at parties or social gatherings with a cigar in hand, and cigar lounges find regular folks trying to emulate these stars. Clubs and societies, particularly those dominated by men, often design their regular activities around the ritual of cigar smoking.
In general, cigar smoking is viewed as the "civilized" alternative to cigarette smoking. Unlike cigarettes, cigars have a distinct, elegant stigma attached to them that often appeals to young people, particularly those with a higher than average income. They are most often associated with an elevated status in society, and the many of the available cigar accessories reflect that fact.
One of the most prominent cigar accessories, the humidor, reflects the overall style and refined nature of cigar smoking among young Americans. More expensive humidors are hand crafted out of wood. They serve not only to protect and preserve the product within but also to display them in a tasteful and fashionable manner. Large humidors may cost many hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and are often fixtures in the homes of the wealthy.
But despite their prominence among the upper class, the increased affordability and availability of quality cigars has also contributed to an overall increase in cigar smoking over recent years. Today discount cigars are readily available for purchase, often from easy-to-find online merchants, at prices well below normal. Cigar stores have increasingly moved to the Web in order to offer a wider variety of brands to any location at a fraction of the usual cost.
In part because of its current glamour and in part because of its practical affordability, cigar smoking has never been hotter, trendier or more profitable in the U.S.
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