A Beginner’s Guide to Smoking a Cigar

Smoking a cigar can be a relaxing and pleasurable experience, either as part of a regular routine or to commemorate special occasions. The flavor and aroma of a good cigar are the best that the tobacco leaf has to offer, and savoring a cigar over the course of 45 minutes to a couple of hours allow you to unwind from the stress of a long day. But smoking a cigar properly requires a little bit of knowledge up-front. In order to truly appreciate a cigar, you must prepare and smoke it in a certain way.

The first order of business once you obtain your cigar is familiarizing yourself with the cigar’s anatomy. A cigar has a head at one end and a foot at the other. You can tell the head both because the ‘band’, the cigar’s label, is closer to that end and because the head is rounded. The head is where you will draw smoke from the cigar. The foot is flattened, and this is where you will eventually light.

Before you can light your cigar, you’ll need to cut off the cap on the end of the head. Not removing the cap means you won’t be able to draw any smoke when you puff on the cigar. In order to remove the cap, you’ll need a cigar cutter. A cigar cutter is a small device with a metal blade or blades that neatly cut off the cap. You should only cut off about an eighth of an inch at the end of your cigar’s cap.

Once the cap has been removed, you can light your cigar. But the process of lighting a cigar is a little bit more complicated than lighting a cigarette, for example. Unlike when smoking a cigarette, you don’t immediately want to draw smoke through the cigar when lighting. First, use your lighter to toast the end of the foot of the cigar without drawing any smoke. This step is important to create a nice, even ash as you smoke your cigar.

Once you’ve spent a few seconds toasting the cigar, you can start drawing smoke while applying the flame to finish lighting your cigar. Now, you’re able to enjoy the cigar at your leisure. A couple of notes apply: Number one, make sure not to inhale the cigar smoke. This can be an especially tricky thing for people used to smoking cigarettes. Cigar smoke is denser and harsher on the lungs than cigarette smoke. You should take the smoke into your mouth, then exhale. Second, a cigar will go out if not puffed on for more than a couple of minutes. If your cigar goes out, this isn’t a problem: Simply relight it and continue to enjoy it.

Following the above steps will give you all the info you need to dive into the world of cigars. Cigars can be a bonding ritual among your friends and coworkers, or just a nice, relaxing treat for yourself at times when you need to decompress. Cigar smoking can become a lifelong hobby, and knowing the basics is the first step toward appreciating what cigars have to offer.