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Written by Puff Staff

Sunday, 05 January 2014

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Most new year’s resolutions are about either getting into shape or saving money, which is why they tend to be broken by the end of January. Here are a few resolutions for cigar lovers that won’t be so hard to keep!


 

 

 

Check your humidor regularly.
This is something that too many cigar aficionados ignore, until they open up the humi looking for something to smoke and find either pitifully dried-up cigars or mushrooms growing on the lid. While humidors are very good at what they do, which is keeping your cigars fresh and at optimum moisture until you get around to smoking them, they do need a little help from you.

 



At least once a week, take a peek inside the humidor and inspect the contents. Is the inside too moist or too dry? Do you see mold or evidence of bugs? If so, nip those problems in the bud before your smokes are ruined!

Your regularly scheduled humidor maintenance should include checking the temperature and humidity every other week. Cigars need to be kept in a tropical atmosphere with temps around 70 degrees and 60-72% humidity, even if it’s zero degrees outside. It’s more important to keep an eye on the humidity level during dry weather so that your cigars don’t have a chance to dry out. If the humidity level falls below 65%, add more distilled water.

Patronize your local B&Ms.
Sure, it’s cheaper to buy your cigars in bulk online, but your neighborhood tobacconist deserves your support. We’ve seen what’s happened to indie booksellers since the coming of Amazon and Barnes & Noble—do you want that to happen to local vendors of cigars and pipe tobacco? Many of these shop owners do what they do as a labor of love and they need as much help as smokers can give them. Drop in frequently and buy something. If the shop has a Facebook page or an email list, sign up. Spread the word to other smokers in your area about why this is your favorite shop.

 



Share the cigar love.
If you haven’t been sharing your new discoveries with other smokers, why not start now? Peruse our forums at Puff.com and scope out some new friends with whom you can swap cigars. This is a great way to try new sticks, especially those that may be hard to find in your area. If you’ve discovered a fabulous new cigar and want others to know about it, buy some extras and swap them!

Socialize more with other smokers.
Sure, it’s relaxing to plop down in front of the big screen TV with a premium cigar and a cold beer, but there is a social angle to the cigar experience that you should explore. Local tobacconists, cigar brands and venues throw get-togethers to promote both the smokes and the businesses, so check them out. Get your name on mailing lists so you’re invited to all the events for smokers in your area. You’ll get to meet local BOTL and try new cigars when they come out. Plus, you’ll make new friends with whom you can share your love for fine cigars.

 



Smoke cigars before they go stale.
Sure, it’s tempting to buy cigars in bulk when your favorite online retailer has them on sale, but avoid purchasing more sticks than you’ll smoke within a reasonable period of time. Even with the best care, most cigars have a limited shelf life, so try to smoke them while they’re still fresh and flavorful.  

To keep track of when you bought each batch of cigars, put them in a Ziploc baggie and mark the purchase date on the label. When you go into your humidor—you are keeping all of your cigars in a humidor, aren’t you?—check your inventory and choose a stick that’s been around for a while. If you have more smokes than you can go through before they get stale, share with your friends.

Write to your Congressmen about FDA regulations.
For the last several years, cigar smokers and manufacturers have had the threat of FDA regulation hanging over their heads. In the hopes of keeping tobacco out of the hands of minors, anti-smoking forces have been pressuring the government to impose stronger regulations on premium cigars, despite the fact that these more expensive smokes are almost exclusively enjoyed by adults.

All members of the U.S. Congress, as well as some members of the Senate, will be running for re-election in 2014. (If they’re not running, other candidates will be vying for that seat.) That means that all of them will be forced to listen to the interests of their constituents, the people whose votes they need to get re-elected. Now is the time to send emails to your elected officials and tell them how you, as a cigar smoker, feel about the proposed FDA regulations that could drastically affect the way you are expected to buy and use premium cigars.

Quite frankly, some Congresscritters aren’t exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer, so explain to them why you oppose new regulations that would force tobacconists to close their humidors to the public and force buyers to choose cigars from a chart behind the counter rather than being able to handle them. Point out the vast difference between the cheap, candy-flavored small cigars favored by teens and the hand-rolled, lovingly crafted premium cigars enjoyed by adults. Your Senator and Congress members need ammunition if they’re going to stand up to the anti-tobacco factions, and it’s up to you to give it to them.

 



Expand your horizons.
Maybe you don’t have the cash to visit the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua in search of exciting new smokes, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep smoking the same few brands as you did last year and the year before. Resolve to try a new cigar every month of the year—not necessarily one that’s just come out, but one you haven’t tried before. You may find a new favorite—or be reminded why you love your old standby so much. Either way, you’ll be able to give an educated opinion if another cigar lover asks you about certain brands.

May your New Year be filled with joy, love and great cigars!




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