David Zeplowitz (nicknamed Cigar Dave and The General), is the creator and host of Smoke This!-- a nationally syndicated radio program devoted entirely to what he has helped become the art of cigar smoking and its accompanying Alpha Male lifestyle.
Cigar Dave was born in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from Syracuse University in 1986. He resides with his family in Tampa, Florida, and "traces his love of cigars to his grandfather, 'Cigar Abe,' who faithfully enjoyed Gold Label Cigars for many years."
Cigar Dave hosted the first broadcast of Smoke This! in July 1995. The broadcast ran for one hour on the Tampa radio station WSUN. The show quickly gained listeners that Dave, The General, refers to as Cigar Lieutenants. In December 1995 Smoke This! began its two-hour-long broadcast.
The Cigar Dave Show, formerly known as Smoke This! broadcasts on Saturday afternoons from noon to 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. The show is broadcast on over 120 radio stations across the United States. The show is independently owned and produced under Dave's own Cigar Connoisseur Radio Network company. Syndication sales are handled by Talk Shows USA. The show is also heard on XM 165 Extreme Talk, and can be listened to on affiliate webstreams, linked at the Cigar Dave website.
A brief attempt at a "third hour" spinoff, Poker Boulevard, took place on WFLA in 2005, but was effectively cancelled after a short run when an infomercial took the slot.
Cigar Dave opens his show with the greeting "Long Ashes!" and the "national cigar-lighting ritual," a time when both Dave and his listeners light up their cigars. Dave routinely discusses cigars, spirits, and current events with his listeners. The General promotes the enjoyment of cigars and spirits in moderation. His exercise regimen includes "power walking". The show features two recurring cigar connoisseur "characters," grillmaster "Colonel Ange" Puccio (whose barbecue domain is called "The Pooch Pit") and "Captain Paul" Billoni, who both reside in Buffalo. "Mick the Brit" Smith, called "Commander of European Operations," often checks in from London, England, where he also hosts an R&B radio program called "Solar Sunrise." The show's announcer, veteran voice actor Brian James, died on March 6th, 2009, at age 48, although he is still heard doing many of the "bumpers" on the show. After James' death, Ed Weigle (the national radio commercial voice of WWE), known on the show as "Creative Voice Talent Ed," assumed the announcer title.
Always "truthful", the General "leads his troops" and "wages battle" in the fight against America's self-anointed "Pleasure Police" and "Big Pleasure." The "Pleasure Police" and "Big Pleasure" are plays on George Orwell's "Thought Police" and "Big Brother" themes from the novel 1984, where governments and corporations combine mass surveillance assets to oversee all aspects of an individual's professional and personal life.
In Cigar Dave's broadcasts, "Pleasure Police" refers to politicians and other public figures who The General portrays as striving to set (and strictly enforce) laws that would outlaw personal pursuit of otherwise legal pleasures—such as smoking cigars, pipes, and other tobacco products, and imbibing "adult beverages" such as beers, wines, spirits, and even coffee, in public.
"Big Pleasure" refers to employers, insurance companies, and other organizations that, for example, discriminate against employees, customers, or other guests whom might happen to legally smoke or drink, on their own time due to the perception of increased health risks to themselves and others they may come into contact with. These "Pleasure Police," according to The General, use outdated, flawed, and repudiated scientific studies to "prove" various health issues claimed to be caused by "second hand smoke," among others.
A particular target of Cigar Dave's ire is his hometown of Buffalo, New York and the state of New York as a whole, and he will often lambast the laws of the state and highlight the negative consequences of those actions (most notably, the statewide Clean Indoor Air Act imposed in 2003).
One of the features of the Smoke This! broadcast is the annual "Cigar Draft,"  which mimics the annual sports drafts conducted by Major League Baseball and the National Football League. Listeners to the live program call in to the show, and select their favorite cigar by brand, version, size, shape, and vintage.
Cigar Dave also occasionally hosts on-air tasting events of various alcoholic beverages, usually accompanied by a professional sommelier, with the idea of pairing beverages with cigars of appropriate strength and character so they complement each other.
Tampa Cigar Heritage Festival
Yearly, in November, the cast of "The Cigar Dave Show" broadcast live for The Tampa Cigar Heritage Festival, from Centennial Park in Ybor City, considered the birthplace of America's cigar industry. The festival features cigar vendors, food and other attractions. Cigar Dave is joined, in person, by Col. Ange, Capt. Paul, Mick the Brit and Creative Voice Talent Ed, who opens the show live, along with The Don Juceum Orchestra. Juceum performs classic Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin songs, in and out of commercial breaks on the show.
The Cigar Dave Show
In 2006, Cigar Dave began hosting his own television show called "The Cigar Dave Show." It currently airs on WFTS-TV in Tampa, Florida on Saturday afternoons from noon till 2:00pm and focuses on cigars, fine wines, grilling, and music around the Tampa Bay area.
- Cigar Dave - Biography Accessed on May 4, 2007.
- Cigar Draft 2005. Accessed on May 4, 2007.
- Cigar Draft 2007. Accessed on May 26, 2007.