In his book The Churchill Factor, Boris Johnson makes the apodictic claim that Winston Churchill smoked 250,000 cigars over his lifetime.
This number looks too much like it has been pulled out of Mr Churchill’s famous hat.
Let’s apply some simple maths: Churchill lived for 90 years (putting me as a fellow cigar smoker at ease, although I always suspected that cigars are actually good for your health). Assuming that he picked up the habit as soon as he left school and attended the military academy at Sandhurst when he was 19 (not that you can’t smoke before, but realistically he wouldn’t have had the money to purchase cigars), 250,000 cigars divided by the remaining 71 years still come out at more than 9 cigars per day.
A cigarette smoker may find this totally acceptable, but we are talking about cigars. Huge cigars. Churchill-size cigars, as they have become known. Smoking one of them can easily take an hour or more.
Theoretically it is thus possible to smoke 250,000 cigars over a long lifetime, but I find it highly unlikely, particularly when you have a number of busy jobs to attend to. Or maybe we have finally stumbled upon the secret behind a productive life? After all, Churchill not only kept the Allies in World War II together, organized the defense of the British Isles, but as a journalist and writer, he wrote dozens of books and hundreds of articles. – If I only smoked more, I might get there, too.