Written by Puff Staff

Sunday, 28 April 2013

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cigar terms

If you are new to cigar smoking, we’d like to welcome you to and pass on a few tips on some of the terms that new cigar smokers will find helpful as you get into the world of cigars.  Every veteran cigar smoker was a newbie once, and they all had to start somewhere! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about sizes, brands, cigar etiquette, accessories, humidors and everything else you need to sound like a real cigar pro.



According to a 2009 report by the CDC, 5.4% of adults in the U.S. are cigar smokers. That includes 9.1% of adult males and 1.9% of adult females. If you’re a new smoker, you’re joining an exclusive club with current members like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Cosby, Fidel Castro, Michael Jordan, Rush Limbaugh, David Letterman, Sylvester Stallone and Jay-Z. Past members include Winston Churchill, Orson Welles, John Wayne, Ernest Hemingway, President John F. Kennedy and George Burns. That’s pretty good company!


First of all, smoking cigars is supposed to be relaxing and pleasurable, so don’t over-think your choices. Every new cigar you try is a learning experience, so just sit back and enjoy each one. We’re going to start our series on Cigar Smoking 101 with a guide to the acronyms used in the industry. Learn a few pertinent terms and you can converse with your local tobacconist without sounding like a “newbie.”

Let’s start with the terms cigar smokers use to describe themselves and each other. A “CA” is a Cigar Aficionado, and here’s a definition of the term from “An aficionado must like the thing, be knowledgeable about it, and must display the affection and knowledge. If all three of these elements are not present the person is something other than an aficionado.  If the knowledge and display are present but the affection is not the person is either an opponent of the thing, or a fraud, not an aficionado.  If the affection and display and present but not the knowledge, the person is an amateur or a fan, not an aficionado.”

One who spends too much on his habit has “CAS”—Cigar Acquisition Syndrome. There may be support groups, but there’s no known cure, probably because this is one addiction that nobody really wants to kick!

A fellow CA is known as a “BOTL” or Brother of the Leaf. In past years, the cigar smoking fraternity was the quintessential old boys club, but nowadays, the ladies are picking up the habit, too. A CA of the female persuasion is a “SOTL”—Sister of the Leaf. A bunch of cigar loving friends who enjoy getting together to indulge in a few smokes is known as a “HERF.”

Next, we’ll check out the terms for various smokes. A “CC” is a Cuban Cigar, which as you know from reading our last few columns, is rare and probably illegal since the U.S. has enforced a trade embargo against Cuba for more than 50 years. The only CCs that can be legally sold are pre-embargo cigars. They’re old, expensive and not easy to come by.


The country of Cuba is referred to as “ISOM”—Island South of Miami. Yes, you can travel there, but no, you can’t bring back any cigars. Or rum. Possession of Cuban cigars will get you in big trouble with the government.


0 # RE: A Beginners Guide to Cigar Smoking – Part OnePatrick Hosler 2013-04-28 14:27
Informative and funny. I want to be a lowland gorilla :D

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0 # RE: A Beginners Guide to Cigar Smoking - Part OneMilad T 2013-06-05 17:34
Great article. Another website that offers a cigar 101 guide that helped me learn a lot about the different blends, shapes, and sizes of cigars.

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