May 8, 2007

Tuesday, May 8
University Series
Speaker: Charles Wheelan

Tuesday, May 22
Informal Smoker
Tower Club Bar

Tuesday, June 4
University Series
Speaker: Ted Foss

About the Cigar Society

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the University Club is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits. 

The University Club Cigar Society embraces this tradition and extends it with its fortnightly Informal Smokers, monthly University Series lectures, and quarterly Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.

The Informal Smokers meet at the round table in the Tower Club bar.  There are no reservations or cover charges, and each member signs his own chit for drinks a lá carte.  Sometimes a theme is published in advance, but the table talk always strays. 

The format of the Cigar Society University Series includes cocktails at 5:15pm, a lecture or reading starting at 5:30 sharp for about thirty minutes, and discussion and more cocktails to follow.  Premium open bar and light snacks are included in University Series events; members sign a chit for $30 and guests may pay $40 (inclusive) in cash.

All University Club and Tower Club members and their guests are invited to all Cigar Society events.

To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the Secretary, Curtis Tuckey, at

The warmth of thy glow,
Well-lighted cigar,
Makes happy thoughts flow,
And drives sorrow afar.

The stronger the wind blows,
The brighter thou burnest!
The dreariest of life's woes,
Less gloomy thou turnest!

As I feel on my lip
Thy unselfish kiss,
Like thy flame-colored tip,
All is rosy-hued bliss.

No longer does sorrow
Lay weight on my heart;
And all fears of the morrow,
In joy-dreams depart.

Sweet cheerer of sadness!
Life's own happy star!
I greet thee with gladness,
My friendly cigar!

                 —Friedrich Marc

Endangered Species?

University Series, Tuesday, May 8, Tower Club, 5:15 pm
Charles Wheelan, club member and lecturer in public policy at the University of Chicago, will talk about his forthcoming book, An Introduction to Public Policy.  Cocktails at 5:15, lecture at 5:30, discussion to follow at 6:00.  $30 includes open bar and light hors d'oeuvres.  Bring your own cigars.  RSVP TODAY to Laura Herold, Tower Club Manager.

The discussion to follow may include such public policy issues as the proposed state-wide smoking ban.

Professor Wheelan has a PhD in public policy from the U of C's Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies and a Master of Public Affairs from Princeton.  He is the author of Naked Economics, a book that the Chicago Tribune described as "clear, concise, informative, and (gasp) witty."   He also wrote a series of essays to accompany Terry Evans's photographs for their recent book, Revealing Chicago.  He is currently the author of a regular Yahoo! column, The Naked Economist, and is a regular contributor to 848 on WBEZ. 

You may peruse Charles Wheelan's web site at

Public Policy in the News: Smoking Banned at the U Club
As of May 1st the Illinois Senate and House have approved Senate Bill SB0500 and House Bill HB0246, "The Smoke-Free Illinois Act."  Both bills passed by large margins, with many cosponsors.  The prohibition is said to be based on the Surgeon General's conclusion that "there is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke."

Cigar Society regular David Fitzpatrick will give us an update in our meeting Tuesday on the progress of these bills and the possibility of exceptions for private clubs.

Further reading:

Reading for May,  from the Atlantic Monthly, Jan/Feb 2007

When the French National Library airbrushed the cigarette out of Jean-Paul Sartre’s hand in a 2005 poster of the iconic, chain-smoking philosopher, you knew it was only a matter of time. This February, France joins a growing number of jurisdictions that have implemented far-reaching smoke-free legislation—including such unusual suspects as Cuba (after Fidel Castro gave up cigars in 1986) and Hong Kong (which has temporarily exempted mah-jongg parlors and a few other places). But while the current antismoking phenomenon may appear unstoppable, a look back reveals that tobacco bans are hardly new—and rarely permanent. Here are some of the earlier smoke-free movements in history.

1624: On the logic that tobacco use prompts sneezing, which too closely resembles sexual ecstasy, Pope Urban VIII issues a worldwide smoking ban and threatens excommunication for those who smoke or take snuff in holy places. A century later, snuff-loving Pope Benedict XIII repeals all papal smoking bans, and in 1779, the Vatican opens its own tobacco factory.

1633: Sultan Murad IV prohibits smoking in the Ottoman Empire; as many as eighteen people a day are executed for breaking the law. Murad’s successor, Ibrahim the Mad, lifts the ban in 1647, and tobacco soon becomes an elite indulgence—joining coffee, wine, and opium, according to a historian living under Ibrahim’s reign, as one of the four “cushions on the sofa of pleasure.”

1634: Czar Michael of Russia bans smoking, promising even first-time offenders whippings, floggings, a slit nose, and a one-way trip to Siberia. By 1674, smokers are deemed criminals subject to the death penalty. Two years later, the smoking ban is lifted.

1646: The General Court of Massachusetts Bay prohibits citizens from smoking tobacco except when on a journey and at least five miles away from any town. The next year, the Colony of Connecticut restricts citizens to one smoke a day, “not in company with any other.” Though some statutes remain on the books for decades, enforcement diminishes, and by the early 1700s, New England is a major consumer and producer of tobacco.

1891: Angered by the shah’s generous tobacco concession to England, Iranians protest widely, and the Grand Ayatollah Haji Mirza Hasan Shirazi issues a fatwa banning Shiites from using or trading tobacco. The tensions spark the Tobacco Rebellion—the culmination of a long-standing confrontation between Iran’s shahs and its clergy over foreign influence. The following year, once the country’s business dealings with the Brits are revoked, Iran’s Shiites happily resume smoking.

1895: North Dakota bans the sale of cigarettes. Over the next twenty-six years, fourteen other statehouses, propelled by the national temperance movement, follow suit. Antismoking crusader Lucy Gaston announces her candidacy for president in 1920—the same year Warren G. Harding’s nomination is decided by Republican Party bosses in a “smoke-filled room.” By 1927, all smoke-free legislation—except that banning the sale of cigarettes to minors—is repealed.

1942: Adolf Hitler calls tobacco “the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man, vengeance for having been given hard liquor,” and directs one of the most aggressive antismoking campaigns in history, including heavy taxes and bans on smoking in many public places. The country’s antismoking movement loses most of its momentum after the Nuremberg trials, and by the mid-1950s, domestic consumption exceeds prewar levels.

From the Atlantic archives:

Flashbacks: "To Smoke or Not to Smoke?"
Articles from the 1860s to the 1990s take up the contentious question.


Pipe Smoker's Corner (by Jeff Dean)
In our last meeting . . .
Oscar de Osma, fifth-generation member and President of the Club Nacional del Perú, with Curtis Tuckey and Víctor Tutivén in Lima. Tuckey greeting the crowds from the balcony of his suite at Hotel Gran Bolívar, Plaza San Martín, Lima.
University Club Cigar Society Officers for 2007. David O'Connor, King.  Gerald I. Bauman, Treasurer.  Curtis Tuckey, Secretary.  J. Douglas Johnson, Liaison to Chicago Croquet Club (Honorary). Jeffrey Dean, Chair of the Subcommittee concerning Pipe Smoking. Alexander Sherman, Metropolitan Philosopher. Thomas S. O'Brien, Stentorian. John H. Nelson, Herald.