Why Successful Men Smoke Cigars

Following the smoke swirl upward from a cigar was one way I entertained myself in the evenings as a child. As long as I can remember, my father has smoked cigars. When I got engaged, I started enjoying an occasional well-made cigar in the evening too. That was 15 years ago, and all that time spent contemplating with a cigar in my hand (or mouth) has led me to answer the question, why do successful men smoke cigars?

Cigars can be status symbols, but not simply because they’re expensive (you can buy cheap cigars, too). Rather, cigars symbolize something more important than money. It’s also not true that the super-rich smoke cigars (while many of them do). You can’t imagine Mark Zuckerberg dangling a thick stogie from his mouth, nor Gates or Buffet, either.

They’re all rich, but they don’t conjure the manly success of someone like Arnold, Jordan, or Hemmingway (all of whom do smoke cigars.)

So, do successful men choose to smoke cigars, or is smoking cigars the reason for their success?

Smoking is a dangerous habit linked to numerous health issues. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.

Masculine Men Do Masculine Things

The simplest explanation is that strong, powerful masculine men concern themselves with manly things. They go to the gym because that’s what men do, they build businesses because that’s what men do, and they love cars and sports because that’s what they see other men doing.

So they smoke cigars just because the men they look up to do?

It’s a good reason, but would it explain why these men smoke when no one is watching or why they would put in the effort to maintain a collection of cigars at just the right temperature and humidity?

They must be gaining something from smoking cigars.

Nicotine Has Benefits (Seriously!)

We all know smoking causes cancer and contributes to all sorts of terrible health conditions, but few people know that nicotine isn’t the evil chemical it’s been made out to be. While it is addictive, it isn’t the primary cause of all those health issues.

The problems arise when you burn tobacco and draw the smoke it produces into your lungs; the tar, the combusted particles, and all those chemicals wreak havoc on your lungs and other organs.

This article in Nature is the best answer to the question of how dangerous nicotine (when taken outside the context of smoking) is. It’s titled: “Is nicotine bad for long-term health? Scientists aren’t sure yet.”

When not inhaled from burned and smoked tobacco, nicotine becomes much less dangerous. As cigar smokers tend not to inhale, the dangers of smoking are reduced, although not eliminated.

Studies are still ongoing to learn precisely what the benefits of nicotine are, but these effects have been observed already:

  • Reduction of body weight
  • Enhancement of performance
  • Protection against Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and sleep apnea.

It’s the performance-enhancing effects that successful men utilize. Many men feel that nicotine enhances focus and increases their productivity. Some studies have even found that men who smoked had higher testosterone levels.

This 2018 study shows that nicotine has positive effects, similar to coffee, on cognition, focus, and memory.

“Preclinical models and human studies have demonstrated that nicotine has cognitive-enhancing effects. Attention, working memory, fine motor skills and episodic memory functions are particularly sensitive to nicotine’s effects.”

Cognitive Effects of Nicotine: Recent Progress

Successful Men Need Time Alone

The difference between boy and man is how much he gets done. Ask a teenager what they did today, and they’ll tell you how busy they were. They sat in a few classes, wrote a page of an essay, and then came home and played video games to recover.

On the other hand, a man has done more than that before he leaves the house in the morning. Over the years, as more and more responsibilities have been given to him, he’s built up a tolerance.

He’s worked a full day, driven 50 miles, finished chores, played with his kids, and worked on his other life projects.

He doesn’t need to sit and play video games all evening. That’s reserved for boys and 40-year-old children who don’t know the meaning of work.

No, a man needs some time to sit alone, gather his thoughts, recharge his batteries, and be responsible to no one for an hour.

That’s the magic of a cigar.

  • The kids can’t come near (because of the smoke)
  • You sit in your yard (or study if you can smoke in the house)
  • And everyone knows to leave you be.

Cigar Smoking Fosters Deep Thinking

Successful men race through their days. They have a list of goals in the back of their minds, and they want to achieve them.

But they don’t have time to think, build a development plan, strategize, or consider the big picture.

But light a cigar and they do, and you will too. After you cut and light that cigar and get comfortable in your chair, there’s little you can do except think. Your hand is occupied, so you can’t use your phone. All you can do is sit and contemplate.

It’s no surprise that some of the world’s greatest thinkers were cigar smokers.

  • Sigmund Freud
  • C. S. Lewis (mostly smoked a pipe)
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Albert Einstein
  • Winston Churchill

Do You Deserve a Cigar Today?

So ask yourself if you’ve worked hard enough today to deserve sitting back and spending some much-needed time alone, planning for the future while enjoying a tasty hand-rolled cigar.

Gregory Gaynor Avatar

Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done.

Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.