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Wondering why there are few cigar smokers to be seen dropping ash in The DCE this week? Chances are 
many of them have flown to Havana - 
which is about to host the 18th Habanos Cigar Festival. 

Imagine it ….partying with  thousands of dedicated fellow 
aficionados when the whole she-bang 
starts on 29 February until it runs out of steam on 4 March 2016.

After which debauchery the Irish contingent will head back home humming Guatanamara and 
reeking of the latest
Cuban special editions. 

If you are unable to make this annual celebration of Havanas in the country they were grown 
and rolled in, you could
always step round to Grafton Street where Mr Guy Hancock and the
boys will do their very best to make you
think you've died and gone to Havana Heaven.

Sure, the Cuban music may be piped but the cigars and company will make up for it.

Or you could start your own festival at home with a selection of your favourite cigars, 
an empty ashtray, your best booze
and like-minded friends and family who enjoy getting
in out
of the rain in Dublin and into a bottle and a great tube of some of the world's finest

Hopefully, the Cubans have given up on introducing another smoking ban.  The last one 
they tried was just before their
annual cigar festival about a decade ago.  It suffered from
communication failure , i.e. not everybody in Havana was told the ban was in place and
some bars and restaurants
tried turning away the thousands of smokers who had flown in
to enjoy an uninterrupted smoke in peace.

The result: mayhem! 

A year later I rolled up in Havana when the no smoking signs had been taken down and asked 
what happened to the
hapless Cuban civil servant who tried to initiate his country's first ban
on smoking in public.  I was told he had gone

What a pity the same thing hasn't happened in Ireland.