Plume/Mold Poll Update (2019)


Wanting to see if the FOH Mould Study shifted the popular opinion of the group!!  

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Was really just wanting to see how much (if any) the results of the poll at the beginning of "The Greatest Plume-Mold Thread in the Entire Universe" have shifted since the results of the "FOH Mould Study" were posted.  

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Whether plume actually exists or not I still can't say for sure.  What the study did do for me was to prove that what I thought was plume was mold.  So, at this point, after looking at thousands of cigars over 20+ years I haven't seen it.

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13 minutes ago, peteando said:

Whether plume actually exists or not I still can't say for sure.  What the study did do for me was to prove that what I thought was plume was mold.  So, at this point, after looking at thousands of cigars over 20+ years I haven't seen it.

Yes...I care more about the critical thinking (or lack of it) that goes into belief formulation than I do about whether or not "plume" actually exists.  I'm open to the possibility, but have yet to see any real data confirming its existence. Mostly what I hear is: "this expert says it exists and so I believe it". This appeal to authority is a very common error in judgment (see Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky's work on cognitive errors in judgment and decision making). To quote the late great Carl Sagan: "One of the greatest commandments of science is, Mistrust arguments from authority...Too many such arguments have proved too painfully wrong. Authorities must prove their contentions like everybody else."

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31 minutes ago, crking3 said:

And while everyone’s here, what’s the best way to clean moly’s/“plume” off cigars ? Lol


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Lint roller! ? Or, lightly brush with a clean cloth.

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57 minutes ago, crking3 said:

And while everyone’s here, what’s the best way to clean moly’s/“plume” off cigars ? Lol


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As long as it's not reached the foot, I wipe down with cask strength rum (~125pf+). Also wipe down any neighboring cigars and the box/drawer that the cigar was in.

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5 minutes ago, Derboesekoenig said:

Just in case you missed this: https://www.friendsofhabanos.com/forum/blogs/entry/33-fohrensics-mould-vs-plume/

Highly informative. A very good read

Yes...most interesting indeed. Although it’s early in the polling, the trend is clearly showing an almost complete reversal of opinion on the subject. So, the time and energy (and expense) that went into the FOH Mould Study appears to be paying dividends. 

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5 minutes ago, Arctic Dude said:

Yes...most interesting indeed. Although it’s early in the polling, the trend is clearly showing an almost complete reversal of opinion on the subject. So, the time and energy (and expense) that went into the FOH Mould Study appears to be paying dividends. 

Well that study was posted what...2.5 years ago? So I'd say it's still the same...minus the 4 people who voted against it...as either a joke, or they've yet to read ^

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16 minutes ago, Derboesekoenig said:

Well that study was posted what...2.5 years ago? So I'd say it's still the same...minus the 4 people who voted against it...as either a joke, or they've yet to read ^

Well the original poll (that I found) was posted in August of 2014. The vast majority of respondents at that time indicated that they believed in the existence of “plume”. The Mould Study was posted in July 2017. Sadly, in this day and age of alternative “facts”, I have to say I’m always a bit surprised when empiricism and objectivity actually have some persuasive power. 

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So, have all the people who acknowledged that they believed in “plume” back in 2014 left FOH? Have they been persuaded by the evidence produced by the FOH Mould Study? Or, are they now just too embarrassed to admit that they still believe in “plume” and won’t answer the poll question? Does anybody have any idea what the general consensus is about mould/plume out there in the broader cigar smoking world?? 

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5 hours ago, Ritch said:

I think evolving this discussion is next...

We are agreed that plume is mold...

BUT does the mold add additional quality and features to the smoke? Much like a moldy cheese?

Well, it appears that we are not ALL agreed @Ritch! But, I think the cheese analogy is a fair one. In my somewhat limited experience, I have never produced a smoke with mold on it. So, I have no informed opinion. Plus, I think that there are far too many variables to control for when comparing one cigar to another (even within the same box; mold or no mold)! Like with so many cigar-related opinions: if you really believe any one thing enhances the smoking experience, it probably will for you! 

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14 hours ago, Arctic Dude said:

So, have all the people who acknowledged that they believed in “plume” back in 2014 left FOH? Have they been persuaded by the evidence produced by the FOH Mould Study? Or, are they now just too embarrassed to admit that they still believe in “plume” and won’t answer the poll question? Does anybody have any idea what the general consensus is about mould/plume out there in the broader cigar smoking world?? 

I believed it may have existed.  I knew what mold looked like but assumed what appeared to be crystals may have been plume et al.  Now I've seen "crystals" that are just mold at a much more microscopic level.

I did believe 

I no longer believe 

Study was very informative 

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6 minutes ago, Derboesekoenig said:

For me, it seems like a health issue. Sure, mold wipes off easy...no signs of mold internally (or this is what I tell myself anyway), smoke away. Otherwise if mold is clearly visible and doesn't just wipe off...i'm not smoking that.

Yeah, I’ve had a very few boxes arrive with a little dusting of mold on a few cigars. I just wiped it off, put them away for a rest, and have not seen any return of the villain. ?

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i have seen crystals on the surface of some nc cigars, but i don’t believe it was plume. this was before i was able to keep my humidor consistent, and the crystals went away when the rh went back to “normal”. if i remember correctly, the rh was a bit too low. it may have also been reflective dust, not sure.

for what it’s worth, i don’t think plume exists as a sign of good aging.

-dobbs

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2 hours ago, Derboesekoenig said:

For me, it seems like a health issue. Sure, mold wipes off easy...no signs of mold internally (or this is what I tell myself anyway), smoke away. Otherwise if mold is clearly visible and doesn't just wipe off...i'm not smoking that.

I have read in several places that white mold is not dangerous. If you see red or blue, then toss them. They are a health hazard. 

I’m not an expert so anyone smarter than me feel free to comment. 

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5 hours ago, Shelby07 said:

I have read in several places that white mold is not dangerous. If you see red or blue, then toss them. They are a health hazard. 

I’m not an expert so anyone smarter than me feel free to comment. 

From @MD Puffer:

”Mycoplasmal pneumonia, aka "walking pneumonia" is a very common community acquired pneumonia.  M. pneumoniae is highly fastidious- that's why it took the lab 2 weeks to culture.  Cigars/tobacco are not a a feasible substrate for it to grow upon, let alone survive.  

The most likely and reasonable explanation is someone in your vicinity had it, coughed, and you breathed in the same air.  Your attending physician ordered lab testing because you had to be stabilized in the ICU, apparently were not responding to antibiotic treatment, and needed to show he ordered all reasonable tests in case you died and someone sued him.  Your vitals had to have been in the crapper or at least trending there for them to have put you in the ICU, unless you're really old or immunocompromised and you were admitted there as a precautionary measure (but seriously, even then you would have been admitted to a gen med ward if you were otherwise stable).

Most people survive these infections without any treatment because the symptoms are frequently mild and easily mistaken for seasonal allergies.  The absence of a cell wall just makes them resistant to a few classes of antibiotics but they're highly susceptible to a wide range of other and they don't show the prevalence of antibiotic resistance seen with other bacteria (most likely owing to their longer generation times).  So it's not like there's a paucity of antibiotic treatment available.  A ten dollar Z-pack typically suffices in most cases.  Cultures are almost never obtained and the treatment is almost always empirical.  

If you were my patient in residency, I would have presented your case in grand rounds because almost everybody who gets walking pneumonia either is satisfactorily treated with common antibiotics or just weathers the storm.  Also, you don't have interstitial lung disease from a mycoplasmal infection.  Mycoplasma is no tough cookie- it's easily treated (most often). 

Since I have some time to kill, I will digress.

What other bacterial pathogens might be lurking about on your CCs?

Staph.  It's in everyone's noses.  These guys are breathing dust all day, and smoke, and sneezing (as above).  Someone's gonna pick their nose then roll a piramide.  I bet you staph could be easily cultured from a cigar.  Threat?  Realistically?  Next to nil.  Staph is on everyone.  It's already in your nose and oropharynx.  Good survival rate outside of the host.  But unless your immunocompromised I don't see it infecting a cigar smoker- it's not like Cuban staph is more pathogenic than American staph.  

 E. Coli (and other  coliforms).  Hah.  Nasty.  Someone didn't wash their hands after their government sanctioned potty break.  And you wondered why that HDM Ep 1 looked like a maduro wrapper.  Tsk tsk.  Threat?  Realistically?  Next to nil.  It doesn't have as great a survival rate outside their host for one.  This fact makes one wonder how much crap exactly is on one's Romaine lettuce.  The answer is not enough because Caesar salad is fucking delicious and I'm going to continue to eat it.  Plus, it's also already in your gut and you'd need to ingest a minimum inoculum for infection with one of the strains that are known to be pathogenic.  Hypothetically, it could be the opposite.  You could be sick with "bad" E. coli and ingesting good coliforms from your torcedor.  Sort of a de facto fecal transplant.  Yeah, those are real.  When I was an intern my chief and attending were talking about a patient with C. diff who was crumping.  The former proposed a fecal transplant.  Despite both of them trying to convince me that they weren't pulling my leg I refused to believe it until I read some journal articles on it.  True story.  I shit you not.  

 Honorable mention:  Tuberculosis.  Now this guy is a tough cookie.  You see, outside of his cell wall he makes a waxy-like coating which makes it difficult to ID under a microscope, difficult to culture, and difficult to get the antibiotics across this hydrophobic waxy coating.  Given that we're talking about a 3rd world country, sneezing/coughing on cigars which would act as fomites that we later stick in our mouths and draw smoke through, one might think this is possible.  Yeah, it'spossible.  It's also possible OJ didn't kill his wife.  Apparently, Cuba has TB under control.  But if they didn't, and TB was a problem there, then that'd be the one that concerned me.  It's wax-like coating lends to long survival rates outside the host and the minimum inoculum to infect is 1 or 2 cells (ie highly infectious).

I don't know if the phenomena of crystallized oils on the surface of wrappers (aka plume) exists.  I know something similar does exist on potent strains of marijuana.  But different.  It's really more of a dessicated oozing of sap (which can be collected into little sticky balls of hasish).  What I find odd is that no one has ever published any photo of a cigar wrapper with what is called plume and shown it to be anything other than mycelium.  Forget electron microscopy- just an old school light microscopy photo of some crystals.  I have never seen a photo of such but I have heard countless people swear by its existance.

I'm not not sickly, not immunocompromised, and I have no pulmonary diseases.  So if I find a little white mold on a cigar, I personally imagine it to be something akin to a secondary or tertiary fermentation.  If it's extensive I'm going to wipe it off, and if it's hardly noticeable I probably wouldn't risk damaging the wrapper or wasting my time and just smoke it up.  Why?  I can't find any documented cases of pulmonary fungal infections thought to be caused by smoking cigars.  How many hundreds of millions of cigars a made and smoked each year?  And not one case of a pulmonary fungal infection from a tainted cigar?  They are all covered with fungal spores or mycelium.  A big factor is we don't inhale this smoke, at least directly. 

Now, Aspergillus can be blue and/or green.  There are also documented cases of aspergillosis from marijuana (unique epidemic in some po dunk town).  But you inhale that smoke (though not everyone apparently).  So, if I ever saw something blue or green growning on a cigar I'd probably not smoke it. 

There's an interesting irony here.  Some people who are smoking cigars are worried about their health by smoking cigars which have an advanced degree of growth of an ubiquitous fungus.  I think most likely plume is the white rind of brie to cigars.”

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10 hours ago, crking3 said:

Here’s a good question: you get a box of cigars with mold all over them .....do you leave the mold on and wipe it off before you smoke, or clean the entire box before storing? Storage will be good conditions obviously ...thanks !


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I just did this after receiving a box of Picadores. About half a dozen cigars with large amounts of mold clumps (not "dusty" mold). About half a dozen more with small clumps around the head/shoulders. Removed each cigar and wiped down almost all of them. Wiped down both sides of the cedar insert, the spacer insert, the bottom of the flap, and all insides of the dress box. Used a bottle of 62.5% rum. Have done this many times and only rarely had mold break out again.

Also, placed a refrigerator O3 generator on top of the box in the humidor. I usually use a couple of these for a few weeks during the winter winter when I am less likely to open the humidor due to weather.

If you leave the mold, it will just spread. At least to the other cigars in the box and the foot. Good storage conditions, IMO, include not only environmental controls but mold prevention and response. I also do an annual inventory/tetris game and open every box. Granted, this is more of an excuse to admire my stock, but I call it "maintenance". :)

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10 hours ago, crking3 said:

Here’s a good question: you get a box of cigars with mold all over them .....do you leave the mold on and wipe it off before you smoke, or clean the entire box before storing? Storage will be good conditions obviously ...thanks !


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I’ve only ever received one or 2 boxes with a little mold on some of the cigars. I just wiped off all surfaces (cigars and box) with a clean soft cloth and put everything back. This was over a year or so ago. The mold has still not returned. 

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