Saturday, March 6, 2010

A change in habit

Many men and women have turned to the pipe to escape the grasp of cigarettes. The path from one to the other, however, is long and windy and often doubles back on itself.

As a former cigarette smoker, I am still attracted to the ease with which one can grab and light and smoke a cigarette, start to finish, and discard it with less than a thought. I still smoke socially with one or two of my friends, just a few on occasion, probably five or six last month, if that. But in their stead, I have added the little cigar.
Some will call these little cigars "cigarillos," but I tell you now there is a difference. By my definition, cigarillos are often hand-wrapped or at least have that appearance. They may be flavored or natural, but they look like what Clint Eastwood had sticking out of the corner of his mouth in all of his westerns.
Little cigars (and again, this is just my definition) look almost exactly like a cigarette. They have a filter and a tightly machine-rolled wrapper. The difference is they are usually covered in a cigar wrapping instead of a cigarette paper. And even if they are flavored, they taste an awful lot like a cigarette.
As far as price, little cigars are cheaper than cigarillos, but that's because the cigarillo is a higher quality product. Until taxation catches up, little cigars are often cheaper than cigarettes too.
And I have smoked them both. Generally, I smoke these as a substitute for cigarettes. I don't want to return to my former addiction, having since turned it into a bona fide habit. And I was able to smoke them less often than my pack-a-day-plus cigarette days, but there were and are still times when I chose the little cigar or cigarillo over the pipe because of it's ease to smoke.
But that is changing, and it's mostly because of the taste. Maybe my palate is improving, or maybe I've become spoiled by the high quality of tobacco I've smoked, but I now often think of turning for a little cigar and find myself craving a pipe.
The lesson here is that there is hope to be found in pipes for those seeking to rid themselves of cigarettes, who, like me, want to denounce their addiction for a less dangerous hobby, even if it takes them a few more minutes to get to their smoke. Good luck to all who are on that journey.

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