Cigar Smoking Etiquette for Newbies

As part of our weekly blog posts we would like to speak about smoking practices when smoking your favorite cigar. While it may be customary for men to break out the cigars after the birth of their child or upon celebrating their nuptials, not all men are necessarily accustomed to proper etiquette when it comes to lighting, holding and smoking a fine cigar. In fact, the act of cigar smoking is a fine art, and only those who are well-versed in the realm of this activity truly understand the art form involved.

That said, those who are new to the world of cigar smoking can still learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to proper etiquette to follow in order to be a distinguished cigar-smoking gentleman.

History of Cigar Etiquette

Where exactly did cigar smoking etiquette come from, and who is responsible for establishing these rules?

That role was taken up by Zino Davidoff, who was one of the first to publish an etiquette guide in 1967 entitled, “Zino Davidoff’s Guide to Cigar Etiquette.” Nearly five decades later, the rules he penned in his essay still ring true today.

Zino Davidoff

Zino Davidoff displays the proper way to hold a cigar.

While rules might often be made to be broken, the entire goal of this unique etiquette is to make cigar smoking as pleasurable as possible both for smokers, as well as those around them.

Cigar Smoking Rules of Etiquette

In our modern day and age, we now have the responsibility to adhere to smoking laws and rules that have been recently established. For this reason, before even pulling out a cigar and lighting it, it’s important to first determine whether or not the location you plan on toking on your cigar permits such activity in the first place.

Even if there are no specific laws or rules governing whether or not cigar smoking is permitted, it’s still common courtesy to ask those around you if lighting a cigar would be bothersome or not.

Once you’ve found a spot where cigar smoking is legal and even welcomed, the following rules apply to ensure you’re smoking like a true cigar gentleman.

  • Slightly warm the foot of the cigar before puffing on it – Rather than initially exposing the foot of the cigar to a flame, simply roll the cigar in your hands to allow your natural body heat to warm it up slightly prior to taking your first puff.
  • Light your cigar at the right pace – This practice comes with experience. While you want to take time enjoying the actual lighting experience, you also don’t want to take too long. Give the lighting process your full attention so your cigar can be lit continually yet with caution.
  • Never light another man’s cigar – People who are new to the world of cigar smoking might not realize that’s it’s actually impolite to light another person’s cigar. If you do, the flavor may be unintentionally ruined. For this reason, it’s best to let others light their own stogies.
  • Know when it’s time to remove the band – The band of the cigar is the decorative paper that simply displays the cigar’s brand. There have been debates about the right time to remove it after lighting a cigar.

Cigar Structure

The cigar anatomy displays its brand, and should be carefully removed at some point after lighting.

Some argue that leaving the band on for too long means the smoker is showing off, particularly if the brand is an expensive one. Others argue that leaving the band on helps to protect the delicate wrapper leaf.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to simply wait until the glue on the band has warmed up enough to loosen it, after which it will fall off much more easily. Or else, it’s customary to follow your host’s actions.

  • Hold the cigar between your index finger and thumb – How you hold the cigar while enjoying it makes all the difference. Every cigar enthusiast knows that it’s customary to hold the cigar between the index finger and thumb, which is typically the first rule to be learned. Holding it in this manner is much more elegant-looking than holding it between your index and middle fingers.
  • Never chew on your cigar – Gentlemen gently puff on their cigars between their lips, and never clench down on them with their teeth. In addition, it’s recommended that you wait until the cigar is removed from your mouth before starting to speak.
  • Let the cigar go out on its own without snubbing it – Once your cigar has been smoked halfway, it will go out without any help from you. Snubbing the cigar out is improper, and is what separates the novices from the veterans. It’s typical to smoke the cigar until it’s about three-quarters finished – never should a cigar be smoked right down to the nub.
  • Quickly and discreetly dispose of an extinguished cigar – Cigar butts are no more attractive and tasteful than cigarette butts. For this reason, it’s proper etiquette to quickly and discreetly get rid of the cigar’s remnants once it’s done.
  • Don’t light up so soon after extinguishing your last cigar – Starting up another cigar less than 15 minutes before finishing your last one will make it appear as if this is an obsessive activity for you. You don’t want to look like an addict, so it’s best to give it some time before you consider lighting up another cigar.

Smoking a cigar truly is a luxury, and should be enjoyed as such. Be sure to brush up on proper cigar smoking etiquette before you light up with your gentlemen friends so you can make a great impression.

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What type of a cigar gentleman are you?

Take this fun quiz to reveal the perfect cigar for you based on your personality type.

1. You and your significant other have been invited to a friend’s dinner party. You are most likely to throw on:

A. jeans and a t-shirt
B. khakis and a cashmere pullover
C. black pants and a vintage bowling shirt
D. jeans, t-shirt and a black sport coat
E. gray suit with a white linen shirt
F. a custom Tom Ford suit

2. When it comes to watches you prefer:


A. Timex Intelligent Quartz Fly-Back Chrono Compass
B. Zodiac Oceanaire
C. Tag Heuer Twin Time Carrera
D. Calibre de Cartier Automatic
E. Rolex Deep Sea D-Blue Dial
F. Hublot King Power Swiss Luxury Watch

3. When it comes to shades you prefer:


A. Spine Skulled Alexander McQueen Squared Glasses
B. Rayban Wayfarer Classic
C. Persol Steve McQueen Folding Acetate Shades
D. Ray Ban Signet
E. Persol 58230 Ratti Vintage
F. Persol 649 Ratti Vintage

4. If you had your way, your next vacation spot would be:

A. Camping in an RV through a National Park
B. An African Safari
C. Beachside in Ibiza
D. Traveling to Los Angeles to sit court side at an LA Lakers game
E. Touring the finest Italian wineries
F. A yacht off the coast of France

5. Your ideal mate would be described as:

A. Simple, understated, girl-next-door beauty
B. Classic, sophisticated and beautifully conservative
C. Outgoing and spontaneous with model-good looks
D. Young, sultry and sexy
E. Bold, smart, brave and successful
F. Talented, shockingly stunning and publicly loved

6. It is the perfect Sunday afternoon, you are:

A. watching football with your buddies in your home theater
B. reading a good book on the balcony of your beach house
C. entertaining some lady friends in your hot tub
D. sitting in your ring side seats at a UFC fight
E. attending an event in support of your favorite charity
F. reviewing your stock portfolio and taking care of business

AND NOW ON TO THE RESULTS! Drum roll please…….What is the perfect cigar pairing for you?

For every A give yourself 1 pt
For every B give yourself 2 pts
For every C give yourself 3 pts
For every D give yourself 4 pts
For every E give yourself 5 pts
For every F give yourself 6 pts

If your total equals 5-10 pts:


The San Cristobal de la Habana el Morro is the cigar for you my friend! You are a casual, no nonsense type of gentlemen. That’s not to say that you don’t enjoy the finer things in life. You certainly have an eye for quality but you are also incredibly practical and you pride yourself on your practicality. When it comes to your cigar you are a regular smoker who would appreciate the classic and delicate presentation of this consistent Havana cigar. According to David from, pairs perfectly with Laphroaig 18 year old Scotch. At 6.3 inches and 33g, this affordable cigar is also likely to seem cooler and last longer, which is exactly what you are looking for. It’s no wonder Jim Belushi made this his every day cigar, smoking an average of 6 per day.

If your total equals 11-15 pts:


You are polished, sophisticated and classic which makes the H. Upmann Petit Coronas a great cigar choice for you. They are short and moderately stout at 5 inches and 42g with a light strength, marvelous nutty feeling, and a very nice light smoke. This cigar is meant to be savored and enjoyed by a hard-working gentleman who appreciates luxury items and takes the time to enjoy them. You can kick back like the charismatic John F. Kennedy used to and enjoy this cigar once you are done with gardening and enjoying the beautiful afternoon sun. Peaceful, reliable, and relaxing are words that could both describe you and your cigar.

If your total equals 16-20 pts:


You are the perfect combination of success and playfulness. You don’t take yourself too seriously which is why you deserve to enjoy a Romeo y Julieta Petit Corona whenever your heart desires. Similar to the H Upmann Petit this cigar is 5 inches and 42g yet this one differs in that a peculiar smoke and aging is important to enjoy the actual flavors of the cigar. Minimum aging duration should be 5 years. While you are not naturally a very patient person who would wait 5 years for anything, you understand that patience in some regards – like to age the perfect cigar – is necessary to enjoy it at its fullest potential. After aging, sweetness and notes of cedar balance the full bodied, complex aromas and hints of earth, coffee and cedar. This is one of Charlie Sheen’s very favorite cigars. We’ll let you decide whether you are more like the 1986 Platoon Charlie Sheen or the 2011 “Winning!” Charlie Sheen.

If your total equals 21-25 pts:


The Montecristo No. 2 is one of the most widely recognized Cuban cigars by smokers and non-smokers alike.  Classic cigar, unlike Patrick’s view on individual taste change, this cigar is unique by itself. The reason you like this cigar – aside from its well balanced flavor and consistent burn – is that it evokes a certain “attitude” or status. Since you are a gentleman who likes to consider themselves at the top of their game, you deserve to enjoy the cigar that others like minded successes choose such as mega-stars like Jack Nicholson and sports icons like Michael Jordan. The Monte is 6.1 inches, 52g and is not for beginners. It’s a bit spicy and is only for the experienced smoker, like you!

If your total equals 26-30 pts:


You are the type of gentleman who does not mind being in the public eye. In fact, you like the kind of attention that any type of public service or corporate leadership opportunities bring to your life. You find yourself at lots of events which is why the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas, at a nice-sized 7.6 inches and 47g, is your quintessential post dinner cigar. This cigar has a sense of artistic beauty behind it as it is being produced with care by the hand of a craftsperson which is why many major public figures such as Arnold Swarzenneger have made this their go-to brand. Mixed with vanilla and honey perfumes, the burn is continuous and fairly direct. This type of directness and consistency is right in line with who you are.

If your total equals 31-36 pts:


There is the regular cigar smoker and the Cohiba Siglo VI smoker. You know who you are. You are a distinguished gentleman, a connoisseur of luxury items, and wouldn’t be caught dead smoking anything but the best. Smoking a short and stout Cohiba Siglo VI, only 4.5 inches yet 52g, brings a sort of status with it because it has the finest blend of tobaccos. Just like the fact that you drive the nicest car, rock the hottest fashion, and vacation in the world’s best spots…when you smoke, you smoke only the best. You’ve worked hard to earn your luxurious life and you deserve to enjoy life to the fullest.

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