Cigar (& Pipe) Smoking Enjoys a Revival in the UK

I have taken the liberty to reproduce this article from a recent post on the Independent newspaper website.  Although it’s interesting in its own right, the reference to recent pipe smoking trends was also of interest.  To view the original article, click here and to view our latest cigar offering including rare Cubans, click here.


Cigars have long been associated with fat cat city brokers in pinstripes and too much cash, but changing attitudes and a growing interest among younger people could be leading to a revival.

Last week, the Financial Times reported that cigar smokers were a dying breed in the UK, with consumption figures nosediving over the past 20 years to an estimated 300,000 smokers. Indeed, the smoking ban, economic recession, heavy tax burdens, and the display ban on products have slowly driven a nail through the tobacco industry’s coffin.

But figures largely ignored that 20 years ago, the cigar industry was enjoying a 30-year high thanks to the mid-1990s trend of cigar bars in the United States, which led to a global spike in demand.

A swathe of grand cigar terraces opening in many luxury hotels over the past few years – now considered a must-have for London’s top addresses – certainly does not point to a dismal death for the cigar industry. In 2011, Marleybone’s swanky Ten Manchester Street boutique hotel opened a cigar concession within its lobby that allows for inside cigar sampling.

cigar terrace

Even outside of the confines of the London elite, cigar lounges are opening their doors. Three years ago, the Cuban Cigar Club opened in Newcastle city centre and is bucking the trend by reporting consecutive double digit growth for turnover each year. It was the first store of its kind to open in a decade, and since then there have been two others to follow suit.



Justin Clayton, the manager of the specialist tobacconist store and lounge, says that the state of the industry is not as bleak as it seems. Indeed, changing attitudes to cigarette smoking and the ban on lighting up indoors could even become the cigar’s saviour, according to Mr Clayton. “We’re now seeing many cigarette smokers switching over and enjoying the occasional cigar. They consider it a weekend treat.”

“We have about thirty guys who… I wouldn’t like to say they lived in the club, but they spend a lot of time here. Your stereotypical idea of a cigar smoker makes up five or six of them and the rest are uncategorisable.”

“We’re a bit of an oddity compared to London, as we have a much younger dynamic,” says Mr Clayton.

Their key demographic is men aged 30-45. “Usually, they’re guys who have kids and can’t really go out larging it in town anymore. They would now rather spend their night with a nice Scotch malt and a cigar,” he adds.


He believes that cigar smoking is following the growing revival of pipe-smoking. Referring to the “chapists” (a phenomenon of young men reviving Edwardian values of chivalry, and a well-kept moustache), who have embraced pipe-smoking since the early 2000s, he says: “At first it was largely an affectation to accompany the tweed jackets. But then they get in to it and become real connoisseurs.”

Although the hefty price tag mostly deters younger smokers, there is a growing interest among 20-year-olds who consider cigar smoking a hobby.

“Like whisky, cigars are a pure luxury, and the only point to them for me is enjoyment,” says Daniel Ward, a 25-year-old sales analyst who lives in Edinburgh. He has been smoking cigars since the age of 18, and says he has taken a real interest in the cultural history of cigar smoking.

“I started smoking cigars because I tried one and rather liked it, so I smoked another and liked it more. Then I found a cigar forum and started to learn more about them.”

Robb Montgomery, a 20-year-old student from Belfast is another of these young, cigar connoisseurs. “The attraction is down to the variety of high quality tobacco in the cigars – no chemically preserved cigarette grade nasty stuff but something that has been grown and cured to give more flavour.”

Mr Montgomery admits that cigar smoking is lost on most young people, usually lacking in time. “[But] it’s that practice and time from my schedule that attracts me,” he says.

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9 Responses to Cigar (& Pipe) Smoking Enjoys a Revival in the UK

  1. You’ve got good information in this article

  2. avatar Garrick says:

    I had a Don Tomas cigar, hand rolled from the Dortmund pipe and tobacco show 2013, the other night and it was the best cigar I have ever tasted – smooth, velvety, with a mellow sweetness like mocha. I smoked the whole thing for about 45 minutes and enjoyed every part down to the end. I have made enquiries to see if we can get some for E A Carey customers, and will keep you posted if so.
    Meanwhile we have an expanding selection under Cigars on this website, so check them out.
    Happy smoking!

  3. avatar Terry says:

    Hello…..Perhaps an article on the processing of pipe tobacco, the processing of cigar tobacco and the processinf of cigarette tobacco hand rolling and tailor maid…. I am led to believe that all 4 processes are different, Resulting in different smoke of more acid or more alkaline smoke for the different processing. I would also like to know if Carey pipes can have the magic inch replaced and new stems obtained with the magic inch…. The Magid inch seems to be prone to breaking.

    • avatar Garrick says:

      Sounds good, we’ll see what we can do for you. I have read a lot about the tobacco aging processes for cigars and loose tobacco, and we obviously have good contacts to find out more, so I will try and put some info together for further discussion. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. avatar Steven H says:

    I have tried a handful of cigars in the last year – and it is, literally, a handful. They were enjoyable enough and I like the flavour, but I found their pungency, particularly indoors, a little too strong, with the odour remaining much too long for my liking. I then tried one outdoors but you need time to enjoy them and to sit for the duration of the smoke just wasn’t practical. I prefer my pipe, where I can take a couple of puffs and set it down for a while to come back to later on. A pipe, for me, is the most practical way of smoking and, dare I say it, a little cheaper too! Whatever your preference, enjoy your smoking today.

    • avatar Garrick says:

      Interesting point Steve, as they say, each to their own! I can see the problem with time though, but always thought of pipesmokers as the most laid back of smokers. Some say that cigars are for those who want to be seen/noticed, whereas pipes are for the more private of smokers too. I know pipe tobacco still has the wow factor as far as aroma and texture for me, cigars are definitely stronger. However, once you appreciate the skill in cigar creation you can understand how people get deep into the world of cigars.
      Interesting topic.

  5. avatar Dave Clarke says:

    Been smoking good cigars since 1975 when i started a career in the oil/gas Industry travelling the World.USA, Holland and the middle east offered me the chance to enjoy quality cigars at super ££.Most recently a wedding in Cuba resulted in 12 of us including the bride enjoying a large Havana at the reception!We have a photo that captures the pleasure it gave us.So now an OAP i enjoy a cigar whilst fishing..even if the fish dont bite…make the most of every my mother used to say”Little bit of what you fancy does you good,, !!……especially a CUBAN.

    • avatar Marcus says:

      Great stuff Dave, and good for you! The ‘little bit of what you fancy…’ adage doesn’t get enough of an airing these days with oppressive H&S but I reckon there’s truth in it! Enjoy…

  6. avatar john shone says:

    began smoking a pipe at 20 in 1956 and have got used to peopleall is not lost it is still yhe most elegant way to smoke saying you dont see many pipe smokers these days and how they love the smell,in my local pub there are 4/5 regular pipe smokers and 2/3 cigar smokers,my grandson now 21 has taken 2 of my pipes and tells me his friends like it and cadge the odd puff,

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