Although I’ve smoked cigars off and on for forty-plus years, I have only been a serious cigar enthusiast for about the last twelve. I enjoy a wide variety of smokes, and am willing to try any cigar at least once. The picture to the right was taken last April at a herf in Mississippi, where I utilized both of the devices described in this article.
In 2011, I was employed and working as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan. Just before Christmas, I came down with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). If you want info on GBS, you can click on the following link:
My case was severe enough to almost completely paralyze me. Fortunately, one can recover from GBS. But it is an extremely slow recovery.
After spending nearly a year in various medical facilities, I finally made it home Dec 17, 2012. Although I still have a long recovery ahead of me, at least I can have a smoke!
Due to the continuing effects of GBS, I needed lots of help – everything from cutting to lighting, and even holding the cigar so I could take a puff. At first, I tried putting an ashtray on a pedestal at mouth height, and then simply turned my head to pick up or put down the cigar. The downside of this approach was that, in moderate wind, my cigar would just blow right off the ashtray.
My recovery has progressed to the point that some strength and mobility have returned. Now, once cigars are cut, lit and placed in a holding device, I can least can smoke my favorites without assistance. My brother, son and I made a couple of simple devices to enable anyone with hand/arm related problems similar to mine to enjoy a cigar with a little independence.
We built these devices (below), which allow me to feel just a little more normal.
As you can see, they are very simple, and the parts are readily available. At first, I used the long rod because I couldn’t raise my hand high enough. It fits neatly into the fork/spoon slot in the wrist appliance I use to eat.
My brother took a hockey referee’s whistle, and replaced the whistle part with a hose clamp. This device fits over my fingers, and allows me to enjoy a more (to me, anyway) normal smoking experience.
I’m sure there are more than a few people like me in the cigar smoking community with similar constraints – whether caused by GBS, other medical conditions, or by accidents.
The materials used to fabricate the devices I’ve described are inexpensive and easy to find. Manufacture takes minutes. We used hose clamps because they’re metal, won’t burn and can be adjusted to accommodate any cigar. I’ve had cigars from 30-ring gauge and up held by these devices. And use of a smaller hose clamp would accommodate even thinner cigars.
Thanks for viewing (and reading) my article!