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Tobacco & Smoking 

Columbo - LAPD homicide detective Columbo fetaured on the police drama COLUMBO/NBC/1968-78/ABC/1989-2003+.

Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo smoking a cigar

Columbo was often seen holding a half-smoked cigar in his hand or in his mouth. He prefers them factory-cut and from the comments of suspects on the show, the supermarket-purchased stogies smell very cheap.

In later episodes, Columbo adopted the habit of buying uncut cigars and preparing the ends by chewing off the tips himself. On one episode, a man offers Columbo a cigar-cutter and says “the only civilized way to prepare a cigar for smoking…keeps the filler tobacco out of your mouth. What do you do? You gnaw on it like a beaver! I don’t know how you smoke ‘em after you mangle ‘em like that.”

Columbo first carried his cigars in the breast pocket of his suit jacket but over time he has fumbled through a variety of pockets in his shabby raincoat, shirt, or pants to find a smoke or a match with which to light them.

When offered a "fine" cigar from an acquaintance, Columbo generally accepts the gift but tells his benefactor that he'll save the cigar for later. (Either Columbo truly prefers the smell of cheap, stinky cigars or he uses that smell as a weapon to unsettle his suspects. Maybe it's a bit of both).

Columbo has stored his cigars in such containers a soft leather pouch to a metal Altoid mint tins.

Now with all the medical information available about the dangers of tobacco, you would think that Columbo would know better but he insists on smoking even though at times he has tried to kick the habit either at the advise of his doctor [“And let me give you some free medical advice – stop smoking those things!”] or because of his wife who told him the cigar smoke hurts the houseplants.

Columbo has tried to quit on several occasion but always has fallen off the wagon so to speak. He even admitted one night "I don't know why I smoke these things so early in the morning, they taste terrible".

On another occasion while jogging the beach, fellow runner Milos Janus advises “Those cigars you smoke -- they’re gonna kill you." Huffing and puffing, Columbo concurs saying “Yessir, I tell ya, that’s how I feel right now.” So, why does he continue smoking? Well, as Columbo once said "I think better when this is lit?" [Episode "Try and Catch Me"].

 Lt. Columbo with Cigar

TRIVIA NOTE: As for the brand of cigar Columbo smoked, there is no definitive answer because they've never been mentioned on the program. But sharped-eye viewers have claimed to have seen such brand names as White Owl and Garcia y Vega Elegantes.


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