Is A Cigar Just A Cigar? A Glimpse at the New-Age Cigar Consumer
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[Excerpt] Cigar smoking is once again in vogue. While no longer at "fad" levels (Freccia, Jacobsen, and Kilby 2003), imports of quality hand-made cigars rose at almost double-digit rates during 2002 (Savona 2003) following several years of basically flat sales. The continuing strong demand for high-quality cigars appears to fly in the face of an anti-smoking, health-conscious society. Cigar consumption has persistently occupied the attention of high-profile individuals ranging from members of the entertainment industry to the political arena to the corner bar. Cigar smoking is again in fashion. Why has this happened? What does this mean? What do cigars symbolize in the lives of the consumer (both men and women)? This paper seeks to provide some preliminary insights and first steps into the understanding of this continuing phenomenon. Through the use of existing literature and supplemental qualitative probing techniques, proposed theory is provided concerning the cigar smoking experience. The focus of the work is to build an initial “plat-form” for reflective thought on the direction of needed future research. The paper proceeds as follows. First, a review of the current cigar phenomenon is put into perspective given the vast historical context and the meaning of the cigar as a cultural icon. Second, literature and preliminary qualitative data supporting the interactionalist viewpoint of product symbolism is integrated to under gird theoretical models. The first theoretical model will represent the “internal/external symbolism” of cigar consumption. The second theoretical model will provide an overview of the internal hedonistic experiential elements of the cigar consumption experience.
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product symbolism; cigar consumption; social influences
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