Why are cigars related to wealth ?
The above photo was taken from a Business Insider article discussing how Millionaires are not gaining as much wealth as a percentage compared to Billionaires. It’s typically not a topic that many Americans can relate to, but it shows just how Cigars are ingrained in the overall perception of wealth.
Cigars are associated not only with celebrations, but also with wealth, sophistication, and luxury. However the question remains, why? No one really knows why, because the tradition appears to have started well before the Europeans settled the new world.
According to historical records, Christopher Columbus discovered throughout the new world natives were smoking a primitive form of cigar, with twisted, dried tobacco leaves rolled in other leaves such as palm or plantain.
A female literary giant of the Victorian era, George Sand, observed “The cigar is a perfect complement to an elegant lifestyle”. (source : Wikipedia)
Again however the question is why? We spent a considerable amount of time researching this topic and discovered a few tidbits of information that allows us to extrapolate a logical reason why, of course we had to use Occam’s razor to eliminate all other reasons.
We knew it was related to celebrations in the New World by the original populations of both North and South America in Europe however cigars were unheard of as it was a new world product. Making it a highly expensive item that initially could only be purchased after transporting tobacco across the Atlantic Ocean, it was a product that only rich could afford, and even for very rich individuals they only could afford it if there was something worth celebrating for. In other words it’s exclusivity is what made it a status of wealth.
Fast forward a few hundred years to the modern era there are two basic types of cigars today. The first are the lower cost machine made cigars such as Dutch Masters Cigars but then there are the still exclusive higher priced hand made rated cigars. These types of cigars are still very much related to wealth and celebrations.
Typically in the United States individuals still believe that wealth allows for more occasions for celebrations, and celebrations for wealthy individuals typically include items that are reserved for ones that have disposal income to spend on those items. Which over the past few hundred years means high end cigars and this is why Cigars became ingrained in western culture as a sign of wealth, sophistication, and luxury.