Breakin’ the law: Cigars and criminals

Al Capone, an aficionado of crime and cigars.

Cigars have long had a history with criminal society, both in real life and fiction — Al Capone and Tony Montana from Scarface immediately come to mind. We know that our loyal readers are good, law-abiding citizens and certainly aren’t suggesting cigars and crime are linked. However, this past week saw a bevy of stories came up with the shared theme of criminal activity and cigar smoking.

From Jacksonville, FL we have this report of an attempted kindapping being twarted by a burning cigar. An 18 year-old woman was terrified when a criminal named James Moore jumped in her car and sped away while her boyfriend was checking into a motel. When Moore tried to grab her, she retrieved a still-burning cigar from the car ashtray and shoved it right in his face. The Surgeon General never mentioned that kind of health risk from cigars.

Here’s another guy that assaults women, only this time you probably have heard of him: Charlie Sheen. Facing 45 days in a minimum-security “luxury” prison in Aspen for assaulting his wife, Sheen’s lawyers has reportedly tried to convince the jail to make an exception to its no-smoking policy so Sheen can smoke cigars in the clink. We appreciate his dedication as a cigar aficionado and sympathize with the loss of one of life’s luxuries. But in a jail that has spacious amenties, opposite-sex mingling and gourmet food service, Sheen has got to shut up and deal at this point.

But it doesn’t stop there. In Seattle, there are these reports of an unsophisticated criminal syndicate running out of International Cigar and Tobacco, a downtown cigar retailer. Some employees were apparently as also trafficking stolen goods. I know tobacco taxes are ridiculous and being raised all the time, but this is a new low in diversifying revenue streams.

To round out our cigar and crime post, we’d be remiss not to mention NY Governor David Paterson’s proposal to increase tobacco tax from 46% to 90%. If that ain’t a crime against cigars I don’t know what is. Make your voice heard!

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