Q: Is smoking an aged cigar a healthier alternative? I’ve read that if you age a cigar from 1-3 years most of the nicotine will come out of it. So a full-bodied cigar should then only be strong in flavour? And the finish would be longer?
– Dave Lo in New York
A: Yes and no. True, the amount of nicotine in the cigar dissipates over time, but it also dissipates during the curing and aging process prior to rolling, and a bit more after packaging during the aging room process. Whether that makes them “healthier” or not I’m not qualified to say. From what I’ve read, it’s not the nicotine that necessarily causes smokers to get cancer or other respiratory diseases; that’s the chemical that hooks you. Rather, it’s the chemicals in the smoke, primarily from cigarettes that cause such illnesses. Being an “all natural leaf” product, to my knowledge, cigar smoke does not contain the carcinogens found in cigarettes. Add to that the fact that almost all cigar smokers do not inhale. So, in that sense, cigars in general are technically “healthier.” If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone out there will set me straight.
Regarding strength and finish, that really depends on two factors: 1) the blend itself, and 2) how YOU perceive the cigar before and after aging.