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The introduction of tobacco in Europe emerged in 1492, when Christopher Columbus's crewmen encountered natives who presented them tobacco on the Island of Hispaniola. When exploring the Island of Cuba, they discovered the natives smoking a twisted, dried palm or plantain rolled with dried tobacco leaves. Tobacco grew in popularity, especially during the 19th century, with cigar smoking becoming commonplace in most facets of society. In fact, the cigar industry employed many people to make cigars before the advent of mechanized manufacturing. Vicente Martinez Ybor, a prominent cigar manufacturer, moved his operations from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida to escape the tumultuous environment produced by the Ten Years' War. This marked the beginning of the cigar industry in the United States. Shortly afterward, Ybor moved his operations to the small city of Tampa, Florida to build the largest cigar factory in the world at the time, and established the working community of Ybor City. Ybor's move attracted competitors who eventually built a series of nearby cigar manufacturers. The area produced millions of cigars, including the five hundred million "clear Havana" cigars that earned Ybor City the title of "Cigar Capital of the World." Cigar-making operations swept throughout the United States, where rollers manufactured cigars from their own homes. Modern cigar manufacturers use machines; however, a few hand-rolled operations make prestigious cigars.
Cigars have not lost their appeal. In fact, many corporations and small-scale businesses offer gifts to their clients and colleagues. This common courtesy serves to extend a token of appreciation for successful business endeavors between two parties. Many cultures have practiced corporate gift giving to continue business relations. In addition, this enables corporations to advertise their logo by having their company name imprinted on the product itself. Corporate gifts embody an array of different items; however, nothing has as much appeal as a prestigious cigar. Not only does this invite peaceful amends, it continues the custom of cigar smoking among the corporate elite.
All About Cuban Cigars: An eye-witness account that shares the manufacturing process of Cuban cigars.
How to Smoke a Cigar: A step-by-step process that teaches beginners how to smoke a cigar.
Cigar Cutting 101: An introduction to cigar cutting basics.
Cigar Facts: Types of Cigars: A fact sheet covering the various types of cigars.
All About Cigars FAQs: An extensive list of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning cigar smoking.
Cigar Smoking and Cancer: The National Cancer Institute covers the health risks of smoking cigars.
The Anatomy of a Cigar Factory: A historical account detailing the infrastructure of cigar factories.
Cigar Cinema: A series of videos that teach the basics of cigar smoking.
Cigar Smoking: Overview and Current State of the Science (PDF): An extensive document detailing the science of cigar smoking.
Ybor City: Cigar Capital of the World: Further reading on Ybor City and rising boom of cigar-making in America.
Written by: Harneet