A Little Cigar History

by | Dec 31, 2013 | Shopping

The actual origins of smoking tobacco are not totally clear but people have been indulging in the “habit” for a considerable time. The tobacco plant itself originated in the America’s where it was “discovered” in the Caribbean islands by sailors with Columbus in 1492 when they saw natives “smoking” dried, twisted tobacco leaves wrapped in another plant leaf.

They took examples back to Spain and Portugal where the smoking habit was first introduced to Europe. Although somewhat primitive, these first examples were basically cigars – a word which probably derives from the Spanish “cigarro”, which, apparently, came from the Mayan word “sica” – meaning “to smoke rolled tobacco leaves”. France and Italy took to the new smoking habit but it was not until Sir Walter Raleigh’s attempts to colonize Virginia that the tobacco “hobby” hit England. However, the British method of choice was to smoke their tobacco in pipes.

To Europe, Then Back To The Americas

The smoking habit grew to such an extent in Europe that confirmed supplies of tobacco were required and enterprising individuals and companies headed across the Atlantic to set up tobacco plantations – first on Caribbean Islands and then on the mainland of what was to become the Eastern seaboard of the USA. Their efforts were extremely successful and the growing of tobacco and its processing became very big business indeed.

Wagon Trains

With tobacco being mainly grown on the eastern side of the Country and settlers heading west in large numbers; trade had to follow them. One David Swisher was amongst the early traders touting his wares throughout the Midwest from the back of a wagon. In 1861, he acquired a tobacco company and began including cigars and other tobacco products amongst his mobile wares. Although this began as something of an accidental side line, this aspect of their business led to Swisher International, Inc becoming one of the leading players on the American tobacco business scene and one of its major exporters.

The Need To Move With The Times

Because of health concerns, the whole tobacco industry has become involved in controversy and subject to wide ranging attempts from Government and other Authorities to control its activities. While cigarettes have borne the full brunt of legislation, cigars have been somewhat exempt.

For example, cigars are taxed at a less punitive rate and it is still permissible to add flavorings to cigar tobacco. By making their cigars smaller and introducing fruity flavors (as in their Swisher Sweets Little Cigars), Swisher International have been able to maintain their position within the tobacco industry.


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