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Cigar Culture

Arnold Schwarzenegger: A Cigar Icon

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

If there is any one person who is clearly associated with the cigar lifestyle it is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has graced the cover of Cigar Aficionado magazine three times. In his movies, Schwarzenegger works cigars onto the screen. He also has converted some of his previously anti-smoking co-stars into lovers of the leaf. Schwarzenegger explains to them that cigars help him calm down. And who would want the Terminator to be agitated?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER’S FAVORITE CIGARS

Let’s get right to it. This is what you want to know. Schwarzenegger’s favorite cigar is, invariably, Cuban. Schwarzenegger likes the Punch Punch, a Toro (48 x 5.625), that is considered medium-full in flavor. Schwarzenegger likes it because it’s the perfect size to have when he smokes his first cigar of the day after lunch and any time of the day. Schwarzenegger also likes Cohibas and Romeo y Julieta, but the Hoyo de Monterrey brand occupies a special place in the Schwarzenegger humidor ever since Milton Berle brought Schwarzenegger a box of double coronas for his 40th birthday in 1987.

HOW MANY CIGARS DOES SCHWARZENEGGER SMOKE EACH DAY?

Word is that Schwarzenegger smokes two cigars a day, though the number can increase significantly if he’s smoking cigars on a movie set or in the movie itself. Schwarzenegger has humidors everywhere and is known for having his favorite cigars shipped to wherever he’s working.

HMMMM

Schwarzenegger has told Cigar Aficionado that he sometimes doesn’t finish a cigar and that, the next day, he lights it up again. He said he likes the taste. That’s what he said. Even so, the magazine named Schwarzenegger 2014’s “Cigar Smoker of the Year.”

CIGAR EVANGELIST

As mentioned, Schwarzenegger has turned some of his co-stars onto the pleasures of cigars. The same is the case with the likes of Jimmy Fallon, host of the Tonight Show on NBC. Fallon’s introduction to cigars by Schwarzenegger is considered a legendary excerpt of late night comedy. 

 

HIS FIRST CIGAR

Schwarzenegger, famous for bodybuilding, did not smoke his first cigar until later in adulthood. In the 1970s, Schwarzenegger was introduced to the cigar by his former father-in-law, Sargent Shriver at the family house in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, not far from the Kennedy compound. Shriver, father of Schwarzenegger’s ex-wife, Maria Shriver, was married to Eunice Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy.

Schwarzenegger likes to recount the story that anytime Maria would complain about his cigar-smoking, he would remind her that it was her father who got him started. Eventually, Maria came to terms with Schwarzenegger’s love of cigars.

ARNOLD BECOMES THE “GOVERNATOR”

After Schwarzenegger became governor of California in a special recall election in 2003, he took cigar smoking to new heights in Sacramento. The capitol building is a no-smoking zone, so instead of pitching a fit, Schwarzenegger pitched a tent on the grounds and it became his de facto office. He took meetings there even with legislators who were rabidly anti-smoking.

“One can safely say," California State Librarian Emeritus Kevin Starr told the LA Times in 2004, “that never before in the history of California has its governor conducted significant business in a smoking tent.” The tent had a large humidor in it, bottled water, bowls of peanuts and an H. Upmann ashtray with some cigar butts in it. Cohibas were among them.

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