Biography of a Great Smoker John F Kennedy
Despite only being President for 30 months, John F. Kennedy is alongside Washington and Lincoln, one of the most iconic and influential leaders of the United States of America of all time. His assassination in 1963 is still regarded as one of the most famous World events ever recorded. Nearly 50 years after his death, there is still a raging debate about who was responsible.
Kennedys presidency was notable by his countrys dispute with neighbours Cuba which ended with a trade embargo placed upon the latter. This trade embargo has had a huge effect on the tobacco industry that is still keenly felt today by residents of the USA. World-renowned Cuban cigars are banned in the USA and are treated with the same reverence as gold dust by American tobacco aficionados.
Tobacco-loving Kennedy authorised this embargo despite the fact that he would face restrictions in buying his beloved cigars from Cuba. However, it has been revealed that hours before this embargo was authorised with his signature, he instructed his aide to order 1,200 Cuban cigars to be delivered to him.
It was Kennedys press officer and fellow cigar smoker Pierre Salinger who was tasked with the job over sourcing as many Petit Upmann cigars as possible.
“I walked out of the office wondering if I would succeed. But since I was a solid Cuban cigar smoker, I knew a lot of stores. I worked on the problem into the evening,” said Salinger. “The next morning, I walked into my White House office at about 8am, and the direct line from the Presidents office was already ringing. He asked me to come in immediately. “How did you do Pierre?” he asked, as I walked through the door. “Very well,” I answered. In fact, Id gotten 1,200 cigars. Kennedy smiled, and opened up his desk.
“He took out a long paper which he immediately signed. It was the decree banning all Cuban products from the United States. Cuban cigars were now illegal in our country.”
The rareness of Cuban cigars has elevated them to a legendary status. The perfect tobacco growing conditions of the Caribbean Islands such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic put them at the forefront of the cigar industry Cubas position as a restricted supplier has made their cigars the most sought after in the World.
Fifty years after his untimely death, John F. Kennedys influence on World politics is still keenly felt as is his influence on the global tobacco industry.