With more and more people enjoying cigars, cigar smoking has become an apparent trend in central Pennsylvania over the past few years. Rich in tobacco production history, York County was home to some of the largest cigar manufacturing companies in the early 1900s. These well known factories included T.E. Brooks, Winters and Co, Jacobs, and John Peeler. By 1920, York was responsible for over 500 million cigars a year.
Recently, consumers have been gravitating towards alternative smoking options to cigarettes. After World War II, cigarette popularity dominated to tobacco market, leaving little room for cigars. But with the rise of e-cigarettes, vapes, and hookahs, casual and regular smokers alike are turning away from traditional cigarette use. Cigars, e-cigarettes, and vapes have a unique advantage over cigarettes in that they lack the usual carcinogenic toxins, tar, or nicotine included. This allows casual smokers to feel more comfortable indulging. Additionally, most cigar smokers refrain from inhaling cigar smoke, instead opting to taste the deep, smoky flavors and then exhale.
Cigar dinners have also gained popularity among both men and women. At these dinners, cigars are paired with a specific menu course and liquor. Light to medium cigars pair best with foods, often meat based. The John Wright Restaurant in Wrightsville has been hosting cigar dinners for over 5 years now, averaging 11 dinners a year. The restaurant has successfully sold out each dinner for the past 4 years.
Of course, the most popular aspect of cigar smoking is simply enjoying the conversation and relaxing atmosphere it allows. Social clubs are sprouting all throughout Lancaster and Harrisburg, allowing smokers to schedule meet-ups or host parties. Cigars are also being used as a token of celebration and accomplishment, enhanced by the romantic and luxurious atmosphere many cigar lounges provide.
The cigar lounge customers are extremely diverse, ranging from college graduates, businessmen, police officers, and artists. Regardless of background, all can appreciate the unifying element of the experience.