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Will there ever be another famous cigar smoker?

What would Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Mark Twain say today if they realized Fidel Castro had more freedom to smoke cigars than them?

That’s what we started thinking upon reading an article published back in 1999 by Cigar Aficionado. This list of the Top 100 cigar smokers of the 20th century provides interesting stories about their stogie-loving ways and even indicating their favorite cigar.

While it’s inspiring to see that some of the greatest men in history loved cigars, we lament the fact that this list will probably not change for the foreseeable future. That is, famous cigar smokers are becoming a thing of the past. The recent tidal wave of anti-smoking propaganda, though focused mainly on cigarattes, has taken the popularity of all tobacco products down with it.

We can’t ignore the negative health effects of regular tobacco use, but at the same time we must draw a distinction between cigars and cigarettes. In the interest of legality we won’t start a debate with the Surgeon General right here, you guys know what I’m talking about anyway.

So here’s my question to our readers: will there ever be another famous cigar smoker? If a celebrity suddenly became a public proponent of cigars we would see it as a gimmick. High-ranking officials would be committing political suicide by publicizing their aficionado tendencies. In fact, looking at the Top 100 list you’ll notice there are many present-day celebrities and power brokers who enjoy cigars but keep it quiet.

It almost seems that a new popular cigar smoker would also have be a maverick — someone who doesn’t just smoke cigars, but fights to regain the exalted status cigars once had in society. Someone who challenges the anti-smoking status quo, who stands up to the pleasure police as says, “it’s my freedom and my cigar.” What do you think?