How to light and smoke your cigars

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How to light and smoke your cigars

No matter the size or shape of a cigar, you would always smoke it the same way. The only difference between the different shapes and brands would be how you prepare the cigar for smoking.

For new smokers, we’d always recommend starting with a classic parejos shaped cigar, which is cylindrical in shape and has straight edges. We’d also recommend something with an open foot to make lighting the cigar easier. 


Knowing how to light a cigar is the first important step to having an enjoyable smoking experience. If you’ve smoked cigarettes before, you might assume you can just use any old clipper lighter. But cigar lighting takes a little more finesse.

We’ve already created a guide on how to prepare your cigar for smoking, which includes everything you need to know about cutting the cigar. If you’ve read that guide and are ready to smoke, you need to know what tools to use for lighting.

This is no place for a disposable lighter. We’d even advise against using an oil-fused zippo, as the gas could affect the intended flavor of the cigar. Matches are fine, but not always efficient – if you’re outside and it’s windy, you might end up surrounded by burnt matches before you even draw your first puff. Instead, we recommend using a powerful torch lighter, which is ideal for tightly packed stogies.

The best way to light a cigar is to avoid bringing the flame directly to the foot. Instead, hold the cigar at a downwards 45-degree angle towards the flame, but never touching. You want it to be close enough that the tobacco heats up, but is never burnt. Just like you would with a marshmallow over a fire, you just want a nice, light toasting.

With your cigar still held at the same angle near the torch flame, take a gentle puff of your cigar. This will let you know that the cigar is burning evenly. You’ll then need to bring the flame about a half-inch away from the foot, still not quite touching.


Now your cigar is lit, you’ll take your first draw. However, remember these aren’t cigarettes, but rather premium rolls that are all about flavor experience.

You would never inhale cigar smoke like cigarettes. Even for the most avid cigar smoker, that’s too much tobacco and smoke for one person to handle. You’d most likely end up in a coughing fit, which isn’t what anyone is looking for.

The expression “to puff on a cigar” is a literal one. Instead of drawing the cigar smoke down into your lungs, simply puff on the stick and hold it in your mouth for a few moments. This will give you time to really savor the flavor of the tobacco before blowing out.

No matter the length, density, or strength of a cigar, you should aim to take an indulgent puff once every minute or two. If you puff too quickly, the cigar could begin to burn too hot, potentially making the smoking experience uncomfortable. Taking the odd puff every couple of minutes will keep the cigar burning slowly and evenly, enhancing the flavors.

You should also extend the time between each puff once you get halfway down the cigar, as this is when things really heat up. Some cigar smokers would suggest stopping smoking the cigar when you reach the halfway point, but we think that’s a waste of premium tobacco and expert rolling. Providing you’ve kept the cap on, we’d advise to smoke your cigar to this point.


Most cigars will hit you with an instant flavor wheel as soon as you bring it to your lips. However, there is a right way to properly taste the cigar.

Get acquainted with the varying notes and flavor layers by smelling the cigar and placing it in your mouth. This will give you an initial idea of what the smoking experience will be like. If you’re trying a type of cigar for the first time, we’d recommend starting with a fresh palette so no lingering traces of food or drink affect the cigar’s taste.

While puffing, you should let the smoke rest in your mouth. This will give you a more notable flavor experience, and leave a pleasant aftertaste.


As a general rule of thumb, you would usually wait for the cigar to build up about an inch of ash before gently tapping it out.

You could also gently rotate the ash of your cigar into an ashtray. The important thing is to not be too heavy-handed with it. Avoid hitting the cigar against the side of the ashtray, as this could ruin the integrity of the stick. If the edges of your cigar are dented or the leaf wrapper begins to unravel, you won’t have an enjoyable smoking experience.

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