I promise I'm not pulling a Clinton when I say I don't inhale. Most cigar and pipe smokers do not inhale the tobacco smoke. This means that while they draw the smoke from the cigar into their mouths, they then exhale the smoke without inhaling the smoke into their lungs. Think of it like drinking through a straw. If you were drinking a soda through a straw you first draw the liquid into your mouth and then swallow. Smoking a cigar without inhaling is sort of like drawing the soda into your mouth and then spitting it out before swallowing it. This is one of the reasons lung cancer among cigar smokers who don't inhale is so much less than among cigarette smokers (who generally inhale).
What Do You Tell Your Kids?
As we have discipled our children we have always been open about who we are and what we do as followers of Jesus. We have not hidden beer, wine, or my cigars from their view. We've had, and continue to have, conversations about the fruit of the Spirit, and self-control in particular, as it relates to this and many other issues. Our kids know the danger and sin wrapped up in illegal drugs, addiction, and drunkenness. They know that cigarettes are highly addictive and that Dad's cigar smoking is recreational and not an addiction..
Are You Concerned About Being a Stumbling Block?
All Christians should be concerned for the welfare of their brothers and sisters, and care should be taken when dealing with those the Apostle Paul calls, "weaker." In Romans 14 (also see 1 Cor. 8) the weaker brother is the one who does not fully understand their liberty and whose consciences are bound to abstain from something God does not forbid. Aside: the weaker brother is not the same thing as a person who is calling other Christians to keep a law that is not God's. Such a person is closer to a pharisee or Judiazer than a weaker brother, wrongly binding other men's consciences. Such people should be corrected in love with the truth of God's word.
Stronger Christians are those who have a better theological grasp of their freedom and whose consciences are not bound by extra-biblical scruples. The strong believers are not to look down on and despise the weaker Christians. Weaker Christians are not to pass judgment on the stronger Christians who do what they do not feel free to do. Both are called to love, understanding, and acceptance of one another.
Paul urges the stronger to care for the weaker by not causing them to stumble. Causing a Christian to stumble is not the same thing as frustrating them. A Christian is not "stumbling" by simply disagreeing or arguing with another believer. A Christian stumbles when he or she is compelled to do something against their conscience even if it is not prohibited in Scripture. We should never encourage someone to go against their conscience, though it is not wrong to discuss the matter with them.
Has Smoking Cigars Helped You Connect Missionally with the Community?
Absolutely! A local cigar shop is a fantastic place to meet other men in the city and have great conversations. I have blogged about this in the past. See my post, Where Everyone Knows Your Name, and the 5 part series, Lessons from the Cigar Shop.
What is Your Wife's Perspective on Your Cigar Smoking?
Well, Jen is definitely not thrilled about it. She actually stepped into the discussion this week on Facebook when she answered a woman's questions. She asked, "What is your perspective on husbands smoking when their wives really dislike the smell of cigars, or smoking in general around people who dislike the smell?" I answered, and then my wife also added,
While I love the smell of a pipe, I do not like the smell of cigars. Actually my real feelings are that I HATE the smell of cigars. But I also am learning that marriage is not primarily about me. We want to see each other become more holy and happy. I know that smoking cigars with his friends, while listening to music, or reading (in the garage) is a way for Joe to relax and have fun.
Do You Ever Read the Bible While Smoking?
My bible smells like goat skin leather and cigars. It's wonderful.
Is It Possible To Counteract The Negative Impact of Smoking?
No. Though not inhaling is much safer than inhaling. And we are all more likely to live longer, healthier, and more enjoyable lives with a good diet and exercise.
Can't Your Arguments Be Made for Legalized Marijuana?
That is separate issue that I am happy to deal with in a subsequent post or series in the future. But I will tell you that while I believe marijuana has great medical and therapeutic benefits that we would do well to fully understand, it is best for people to avoid using it as a recreational drug. But I'm not getting into all that today.
My advice to people who are thinking of trying cigars is first clarify why you want to smoke a cigar. If you are trying to get off cigarettes, transitioning to a cigar is probably a bad idea. You are likely to continue to inhale the smoke. If it is because you want to try something new and potentially enjoyable, start with a mild cigar, perhaps a Perdomo Reserve Champaign. Just ask your local tobacconist or check the description when buying them online.
I'm not sure I can say which are my top 5, but five of my favorites are Tatuaje's 10 Yr Anniversary, the Caldwell cigar line (esp. The King is Dead, Long Live the King), AVO's XO, and Padron's Anniversary 1964.
People on a budget (like me) are always on the look out for good cigar at a low price. Matt asked for suggestions that are under $10 a stick. Check out the Room 101 Payback (550), the new Punch Signature, Tatuaje's Tattoo, Leccia's Luchador, and Drew Estate's Nica Rustica. Buying online saves a lot. And to get good cigars at a very low price try JR Cigars "Alternatives."