Cigar Tips and Tricks

10 Things You Should Never Do As a Cigar Smoker

May 31, 2016 | By CA Editors
10 Things You Should Never Do As a Cigar Smoker
Photo Credit: Jonathan Melot/Alamy

While the world of premium cigars is fairly relaxed, there is still a code of etiquette to follow, a few practical rules of thumb and a couple of faux pas that could get you into a spot of trouble. In order to fully enjoy your premium cigar, here are 10 pitfalls, in no particular order, that you should avoid.

Photo/Jeff Harris

Cut Off Too Much Cigar

The cap of a cigar contains a vegetable-based adhesive called gomma that keeps the wrapper tobacco from unraveling. If you cut too far down the head of the cigar so that the cap is removed entirely, you run the risk of having the wrapper leaf fall right off the binder. Typically, one should cut just above the rounded shoulders of the cigar's head. (Watch this video to learn how to cut a variety of cigars.)

Puff Too Often

Overpuffing can lead to overheating, and overheating will lead to bitterness. Leave at least 30 seconds in between puffs. Slow and cool is the rule.


Light With Dirty Fuel

All fire is not created equal. Your source of flame must be clean otherwise its impurities will go straight into your cigar and befoul every puff of your smoking experience. Use a lighter that runs on butane, which won't affect the taste of your tobacco. A candle will put wax particulate into your smoke and leave a waxy taste in your mouth. A citronella torch will make it taste like citronella. A gasoline rag... well, you get the idea.

Cut Your Cigar In Half To Share

It may have worked for grandpa's Toscano, but it won't work for your Cohiba. Cigars are not symmetrically or homogeneously blended. The tobacco in one end of the cigar is different than the tobacco in the other end. The cigarmaker puts very specific tobaccos in different positions of the cigar to ensure a changing and dynamic smoking experience from beginning to end. Also, cutting in the middle is a certain way to end up with a wrapper that unravels.

Photo/Michael Ivanov

Inhale Your Cigar

Don't inhale. Tastebuds are in your tongue, not your lungs. Cigars are about taste, aroma and resonance. Taking cigar smoke into your lungs will only allow you to taste a fraction of the premium tobacco in your cigar. Plus, it could make you sick to your stomach or light headed.

Stub Out Your Cigar

When you're finished with your cigar, simply allow it to go out by itself. Stubbing it into the ashtray as if it were a cigarette only splits open the binder and creates more plumes of smoke as a result. Plus, a destroyed cigar is unsightly.

Photo/Jeff Harris

Put A Half-smoked Cigar In Your Humidor

You wouldn't put a charred campfire log in your sock drawer, so why would you put a charred cigar in your humidor? Just like clothes, humidors and cigars absorb aromas. Putting a cigar that is partially smoked back inside a humidor will not only taint the cigars you store inside, but can ruin your humidor, lending it a charred, ashy aroma that you won't be able to easily remove.

Photo/Angus McRitchie

Use A Cigar Box As A Humidor

While there are cigarmakers that insert a small Boveda pack into a box of cigars, don't think that just because a box of cigars is factory sealed it will keep your cigars fresh. Just like any loose sticks you might pick up at a cigar shop, your box of cigars will begin to lose humidity after it leaves the humidor.

Store Cigars In A Refrigerator

Just because it keeps your broccoli fresh doesn't mean it will do the same for your cigars. If someone gives you a cigar, don't throw it in the fridge. Your refrigerator is a dry environment meant to keep things cool, not humid. (But it does serve a purpose should you need to salvage cigars after a tobacco beetle infestation.)

Tell Someone How To Smoke Their Cigar

Don't be the cigar police. There are enough rules in life. Let people smoke the way they want to—unless, of course, you're an editor from Cigar Aficionado.

Know of any others? Add them to our comments section below.

"Taking Christian's comment a bit further... if you have to relight a cigar, take the cutter and chop off the burnt end. SO much better. " —September 24, 2017 01:23 AM
"Doesn't *" —June 28, 2017 17:20 PM
"I find it particularly fulfilling to take a breath of air through my nose while taking a puff. This does let you inhale the smoke, but enjoy the aroma. Takes a bit of practice but it's awesome. " —June 28, 2017 16:49 PM
"Thanks those were soon Great points." —October 23, 2016 15:35 PM
"If your wrapper should come loose don't tear it off. Just lick the back of it and re-wrap " —October 16, 2016 06:54 AM
"I also light the cigar by heat only and not direct flame from lighter and I have learned not to puff in on your first light but to gently blow outward threw the cigar after the light cigar and it forces out any impurities in the cigar. Then on your first to the last puff you can enjoy the true tast of the tabaco." —September 15, 2016 05:35 AM
"All good tips, especially the one about sticking a cigar in your mouth then borrowing someone's cutter. " —September 14, 2016 19:47 PM
"If you light cigars, but are easily distracted... DON'T bash the cigar/maker or the shop if you light it, take one puff, then put the cigar down for ten minutes... only to find it went out! So many guys take one puff, whip out an iPhone, forgetting the cigar entirely, then are outraged that it isn't staying lit. If every cigar you try has the same problem, odds are it's user error, not the cigars. " —September 14, 2016 19:11 PM
"When borrowing a torch, DON'T... Jam the torch head into the foot of the cigar. First: it smothers the flame. No more heat. Second: it can clog the torch itself. The owner then has to tear it apart to clean it out or send it for repair while the guilty party smugly borrows a different torch from their next victim." —September 14, 2016 18:55 PM
"1) Cigar Shop/Lounge tip: Do not put the cigar in your mouth then ask to borrow a cutter. 2) Do not lick the outside of the cigar 3) Don't bang the cigar on the side of an ashtray to get rid of ash. You risk having it pop open." —September 14, 2016 18:53 PM
""Never, ever, ever put a cigar in your intern's vagina"-------Bill Clinton" —August 11, 2016 21:34 PM
"Even outdoors around a campfire, don't let the smell drift around non-smokers. It gets into hair and smells all night!" —August 11, 2016 19:25 PM
"You should never degrade someone for what they're smoking. Just because you can afford a Cohiba doesn't mean they can. I have friends that can only smoke budget cigars. Let them enjoy it and one day they may get the chance to enjoy something better." —July 13, 2016 19:46 PM
"All great tips! Wasn't really sure about the refrigerator thing, but now I know! " —July 13, 2016 18:44 PM
"About never telling anyone how to smoke their cigars, I once read in CA that a cigar should "never be held between the fingers". Make up your minds. " —June 17, 2016 13:31 PM
"I've often wondered when smoking a cigar whether or not I actually do inhale some of the smoke into my lungs. Once or twice, when I wasn't being careful, I know that I inhaled and immediately paid the price in coughing, etc. I have developed a habit of inhaling fairly deeply prior to puffing on the cigar, thinking that by having my lungs already filled with air it is less likely I will inadvertently inhale the cigar smoke. So, am I just crazy or do others do anything like this? " —June 17, 2016 08:45 AM
"Thanks your notes" —June 12, 2016 10:44 AM
"I believe when lighting a cigar that its best not to put the flame directly into the end of the cigar but to let the heat from the flame itself help light the cigar. Just my opinion. " —June 8, 2016 15:42 PM
"The bathroom. HORRIBLE place to store cigars. " —June 6, 2016 16:08 PM
"AHHHH........ The 10 Commandments of Cigar Smoking !!! I Loved It !" —June 6, 2016 16:04 PM
"DO NOT... Store your cigars in the BATHROOM... I have heard that one often from the un-informed, thinking that the bathroom is damp, moist and humid. I have been offered these with the fragrance of soap, shampooo, etc." —June 4, 2016 11:20 AM
"Don't beat up your cigar. Treat it delicately as it is very delicate. If you wish to remove the band, let the cigar warm for a bit from smoking before removing it. Be especially careful removing the band from a Connecticut wrapper cigar as the wrapper leaf is very thin and fragile." —June 3, 2016 17:09 PM
"I was always told, Don't flick the ash off, but let it fall off by itself. " —June 1, 2016 23:07 PM
"Curtis Dave and Jacques, you are all so right. The overwhelming majority of cigar smokers I've known are very polite and and are extremely considerate of anyone who may request for example that they move to a different position so that they are not bothered by smoke. More so the cigar smoker is generally a eloquent and elegant individual who cares very much about the perception of others when you are you smoking a cigar. They are usually well mannered and well spoken. " —June 1, 2016 13:41 PM
"Smoking a cigar should be a moment of happiness and fulfillment. One should never feel that he (she) has to smoke a cigar. You might go a whole week without smoking one, but then you could smoke 2 or 3 in the same day." —June 1, 2016 11:33 AM
"Christian, Good tip." —June 1, 2016 11:17 AM
"Also, be sure never to miss an opportunity to wave the cigar in someone's face as you make your points. They'll appreciate it." —May 31, 2016 20:42 PM
"If you HAVE to relight a cigar make sure you clear as much ash from the un light part as possible. You want to restart lighting as much as the wrapper and uncut tobacco as you can. A tip from your uncle G" —May 31, 2016 18:15 PM
"If you HAVE to relight a cigar make sure you clear as much ash from the un light part as possible. You want to restart lighting as much as the wrapper and unbutnt tobacco as you can. A tip from your uncle Gary." —May 31, 2016 17:26 PM

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