We take it for granted… the second that bouncing baby arrives, the “It’s a Girl” or “It’s a Boy” cigars get pulled out and passed around. For some non-smokers, this can be a thoroughly confusing time. In these politically correct times, the idea of a cigar coming anywhere near a hospital can be hard to accept. Where did this tradition come from?

Some of our veteran smokers out there will tell you — with a wistful smile on their face — about the days when you could smoke inside… even inside the waiting room of a hospital! But the tradition goes even further back. Before hospitals were widely available, childbirth took place at home, with (hopefully) the help of a doctor on call. In the old days, men waited in another room while the messy business of having a baby was handled by his wife and a medical professional or midwife. A cigar could really help pass the time, as being in labor isn’t exactly a quick and easy process.

Some claim it goes even further back, tracing the tradition to American Indians who exchanged gifts to celebrate the birth of a child, with a primitive cigar being a very prized offering. Whatever the origin, it’s a tradition that held strong until a few decades ago, when anti-smoking pleasure police started goosestepping into every public and private place to tell us what we could and could not do. I guess the silver lining is that for those of us who enjoy cigars, this resistance has made the tradition even more sacred and important.

Now that you have a vague idea of where the tradition comes from (exchanging gifts and being bored while your wife endures the some of the worst pain of her life), when and where are we supposed to smoke these things? There are a few hysterical suggestions:

“The next time you get together with your friends… about twelve years from now.”

“While you are holding/feeding said baby…. Disclaimer: Do not actually do this. You will make the baby smell bad.”

“While you are at the bar having shots with your friends, it is customary to get a phone call from your wife right after she’s done giving birth. The man should then ask if it’s a boy or girl, congratulate the wife on a job well done, and reassure her that you’ll be there to pick her up tomorrow or the next day.”

Seriously, it’s completely up to you. If you’re a cigar aficionado, it may be hard to resist ducking out of the hospital to get a little bit of much-needed reflection and relaxation while the nurses and doctors do their thing and your wife passes out from exhaustion (or drugs). I would definitely wait until you know everything is OK, which could obviously be a while. Otherwise, good luck finding the time to smoke a cigar with your buddies once you take that baby home.

The truth is, we suspect many “It’s a [insert gender here]” cigars go unlit, unsmoked and eventually end up in the trash. It doesn’t help that some mass market birth cigars are low-quality (though that is certainly not the case with the “It’s a Boy” and “It’s a Girl” cigars we offer). Add to that the fact you’re almost certainly handing out cigars to buddies who feel obligated to take them, even though they have no intention of smoking.

But who really cares, it’s you that deserves that cigar. It enhances your ability to revel in the macho job you just did knocking your wife up and going half on a baby. Puff long and puff strong, because there’s never been and never will be a “job well done” quite like creating a new human being.