In an interview with The Independent timed to the 20th anniversary of Leone’s untimely passing in 1989, Eastwood opened up about his disdain for the cigars he made famous:
“I went out and bought a bunch of cigars that I thought would look good in a Western. I had no idea they’d taste so vile! But I brought those along with me and I gave them to props and we cut them all up. They were long cigars, called Virginia. I made a slew of them that I carried around in my pocket: different lengths to match up with different scenes.”
Like many fans of Leone and Eastwood, I once tracked down and fired up a Virgina cheroot, and it truly is the ideal cigar for a man who seems to hate everything and everybody. They’re rough and so malodorous, the only reason I could conceive of smoking them regularly would be to repel human contact. Having to suck on those monstrosities throughout the shooting of three movies is a ghastly thought.
Eastwood didn’t smoke them for long. Outside of films, he abstains from smoking altogether, which is probably a significant reason why he’s still kicking around at the age of 92. If inspiring impressionable young kids to try the nastiest cigar on the planet was a stealth anti-smoking effort, well played, Clint.