Consumer Article - Ed Collins

*This article is part of our Consumer Article contest. Whichever article has the most likes on our blog at the end of the contest will be chosen to be published in the next issue of Ash Quarterly Magazine.

Lesser-Known Cigar Benefits

I know that people are slowing forgetting about those that were in Afghanistan or Iraq, or at least forgetting about those missions. But some of us, those that were there, will never forget. Also, everyone should know, not every day all day was bad. They were all dangerous, being deep into enemy territory, and many days for many were filled with angst, terror, anger, and even fear of targeted attacks.

But on those good days, those where no gunfire, no rockets or mortars, we were able to work more normally, and for me and others, enjoy a cigar.

I served in Afghanistan, twice. When I was in Kabul, which was less than a handful of times, there was a dedicated large shed to cigar smoking. It had a roof deck, and hundreds of cigars donated by good people back home, so we could enjoy just an hour or so of peace and quiet. It had some old couches, a huge foot locker lined with cedar used as a humidor, a fridge for sodas and water, plenty of lighters and cutters, a few chairs and benches, but most of all, it had brothers in arms who did not know everyone, and good cigars and great camaraderie. Very relaxing.

Once I got to my final post, we did not have a dedicated place, but I quickly acquired a humidor and got my battle buddy hooked on cigars. We would relax every afternoon with a smoke or 2, as a long break. Helped us to unwind and forget for just a short time about what was going on around us.

You see, when you are deployed, carry weapons, and are in countries that officially ban alcohol, no American soldier can partake of a drink, even beer, and television is highly limited and few options to watch. So, your options become living in the gym, reading, playing on the Internet if you have decent bandwidth available (most did not have much of that), smoking, or just watching movies. That is not a lot of distraction from all the horrible things going on around you.

Cigars are a great way to get away from it all. So, for the vast majority of my free time, I smoked cigars. In a 12 month deployment, I believe I probably smoked between 700 and 1,000 cigars. I enjoyed them for the taste, the relaxation, the peacefulness, and the camaraderie. This one activity fulfilled so much of what kept me, and many like me, sane and able to come home from combat and reunite with our loved ones with hopefully less trouble than some.

Nowadays, 7 years after I retired from my service, I still smoke cigars, several a week, and joined my local cigar lounge to imbibe in premium cigars. My cigar lounge is smaller, but the clientele is easy to get along with, either share a love of the leaf or are looking to do so, and it offers a great atmosphere to enjoy good cigars. I am always relaxed in there, as I sit with others. We talk, laugh, joke, watch movies and sports, and of course, light up our favourite puros. My lounge offers a safe haven to get away from the “crazy”, and relax.

This is what cigars do for me. They relax me, they allow me to enjoy my time better than any other activity. And, because of some chronic wounds, cigars actually offer me some small measure of pain relief. I am smart enough to know that they really do not, but I become more relaxed and thus my injuries are not so prevalent. So, to my doctor and those that vilify cigars, I tell you that they offer some of us a relief that cannot be found anywhere else. These are the lesser-known benefits of cigars!


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*This article is part of our Consumer Article contest. Whichever article has the most likes on our blog at the end of the contest will be chosen to be published in the next issue of Ash Quarterly Mag

*This article is part of our Consumer Article contest. Whichever article has the most likes on our blog at the end of the contest will be chosen to be published in the next issue of Ash Quarterly Mag

*This article is part of our Consumer Article contest. Whichever article has the most likes on our blog at the end of the contest will be chosen to be published in the next issue of Ash Quarterly Mag