Occasional cigars not dangerous
I recently read your article calling for an end to the tradition of lighting up cigars after the Tennessee-Alabama game. I work in the premium cigar industry and have family that have been involved in tobacco since the 1800s, originally in Cuba.
My health is obviously a concern to me nor would I want to harm others so I have looked into the consequences of premium cigar smoking. Nitrosamine is a carcinogen and produced when fermenting tobacco but at high heat levels. Cigar tobacco is not fermented in the same way as cigarette tobacco nor does it contain the dangerous additives that are put into cigarettes. I’m talking about hand-rolled, non-flavored cigars, mind you, not machine-made flavored cigarillos, which look basically like cigarettes and are consumed similarly.
Nearly all studies on the harmful effects of tobacco are based on cigarettes, and recently a study has also shown that smoking two cigars a day or less has no known negative health effects. Nobody believes smoking two packs a day is a good idea just as no one believes drinking a bottle of whiskey a day is either; however, even though wine has alcohol in it, a glass or two of wine a day is not viewed as unhealthy just because heavy alcohol use is dangerous. The same applies to moderate cigar consumption.
I think you’ll see that smoking a celebratory cigar here and there is no more dangerous than popping a bottle of champagne on New Year’s or the holidays.
Terence Reilly, Aganorsa Leaf, Miami, Fla.
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No one hooked by victory puff
Have you honestly watched fans and players light up and smoke a cigar after the Alabama-Tennessee game? Most light up, take one puff, and that’s it. They are done until next year. Very few if any are smoking the cigar. No one is getting “hooked” on cigar smoking from this tradition. One puff on a cigar once a year is not going to increase anyone’s risk of cancer.
Maybe you should be thankful that the Crimson Tide football team has kept UT’s fans and players cancer-risk-free for 12 years! Maybe you cannot stand seeing Alabama enjoy this tradition year after year!
Charles Daley Speer, Birmingham, Ala.
Solution is to beat Bama
I’m a UT grad and support the Vols, but if Alabama keeps beating us they are entitled to smoke all the cigars they want. If we want to stop it, start showing up and stop playing like a high school team and beat ’em. Until then they have every right to celebrate with a stogie.
Ron Welch, Knoxville
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