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Cigar Smoking 101

If you’ve ever watched Scarface, you’ve seen Tony Montana kicked back smoking a cigar. Or perhaps you’re more of a history buff and remember hearing about John F. Kennedy’s love for Cubans.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a mob-boss or President of the United States to enjoy a great cigar: if you do it right.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to smoke a cigar so that you get the best smoking experience. Before you know it, you’ll be a cigar aficionado.

How to Smoke a Cigar

Let’s get started. Chances are you’ve already got some questions about smoking a cigar properly, such as:

  • What are the basics of cigar smoking? 
  • How do you light the cigar? 
  • How do you draw on the cigar correctly? 
  • Do you inhale the cigar? 
  • Is there any special cigar smoking etiquette? 

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, keep reading. We’ve written this Cigar 101 article to give you an overview of the wonderful world of cigar smoking.

Step One: Lighting Up

As a new cigar smoker, the first thing you should learn is how to light a cigar properly.

Use a clipper designed especially for cigars to clip off the edge of the head (the round part that you put in your mouth).

The Art of Manliness has a great tutorial on how to cut a cigar on their website or you can watch the video below:

If at all possible, use a cedar match to light the foot of your cigar (you guessed it, that’s the end that you light).

Avoid using regular cigarette lighters. The create a nasty odor that can linger and ruin a cigar and can easily taint the foot of your cigar.

If you absolutely have to use a lighter, use a torch lighter.

These butane lighters will help keep the scent to a minimum.

How do you light up? 

Congratulations! You’re now ready to smoke.

Strike a match (or light your lighter) and hold the edge of your cigar over the flame. 

Avoid touching the cigar to the fire; keep it over the flame, rotating the cigar.  

Next, put the cigar in your mouth and draw deeply until your cigar is completely lit.

Second Step: Smoking Your Cigar

Should you burn your cigar all the way to the end?


Most experts will tell you to leave at least two inches on the end of your cigar. Anything less than that could:

  • Cause your cigar to get bitter
  • Cause you to burn your fingers

What about ashes? Should you knock the ashes off of your cigar? 

Rather than knocking the ashes off the edge, let the cigar rest in the ashtray when you’re not smoking it. 

The ashes will fall off naturally.

Third Step: Relax and Enjoy

A fine cigar should never be rushed. 

If you’re unsure what kind you like, check out our ultimate guide of cigars to look out for in 2021.

By design, cigars should be savored, preferably after dinner and with a glass of good brandy. 

Hold the cigar between your thumb and fingers—anything else might be considered bad taste. 

Also, don’t inhale deeply. The smoke should not reach your lung. 

Completely inhaling cigars won’t help you taste your cigar any better and is very bad for your health.

Be sure to be considerate to those around you.

If at all possible smoke in the company of other cigar smokers.

A good cigar can either be enjoyed alone, or moreso with friends. If you’re feeling like experimenting, try pairing your cigar with a good rum or bourbon.

Consequently speaking, if you’re ever in the Clarksville, TN. area, we’ve got a great smoking lounge that’s always full of friendly cigar afficionados who can show you a thing or two. Here’s where we’re at:

Welcome to the cigar world! You’re now one of us!  

Now you’re all set for a lifetime of cigar smoking. If you have any questions or comments, we’re here for you. Feel free to contact us at any time.

Screaming Eagle Cigars

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