Cigar Do’s and Don’ts

The sum and total of cigar knowledge, lore, etiquette and practical advice could fill dozens and dozens of books.  True cigar aficionados aren’t born; they’re bred with a body of knowledge that is the product of their experience.

But if you had to extract the essentials, it would look something like this:


Neatly trim the end of your cigar with an appropriate device.

Hold your cigar between the thumb and index finger.

Take time to warm the foot of the cigar slightly prior to lighting it 

Rotate the flame around the edge of the foot until it starts to burn, then puff lightly. 

Cigar smoking is a LEISURE activity, not a race — a puff a minute is about right. 

Let a cigar go out on its own, without excessive grinding in an ashtray

Let it go out if there’s less than one quarter of its leaf remaining

Re-light a viable cigar by scraping the ash and turning it in the flame for a moment or two until it catches again

Dispose of the dead cigar discreetly and quickly. 


Use a penknife to cut, a lance to pierce, or your teeth to chew off the end of the cigar

Touch the flame directly to the foot of the cigar: 

Ask someone else for a light 

Be a show off – no one wants to see a narcissistic cigar-smoker calling attention to himself/herself with an elaborate display of cigar smoking technique or accoutrements like cigar holders.  

Put a dead cigar into your mouth and puff furiously while lighting to re-ignite it

Don’t chew on your cigar, slobber on it, gesture with it or clench it between your teeth (unless you’re a 1930’s homicide detective)

Chain smoke.  Cigars are to be savored.


Remove the band carefully after lighting the cigar



  1. I am just picking up cigar smoking. I am a Lance Corporal in the United States Marines. I picked up smoking for occasions when I wear a suit or my dress uniforms. Again I don’t know too much about the subject, but I personally take mine off. I take them off and write memos on the brand about the cigar. I read it was a good idea until you find a brand you enjoy the best. I have studied the etiquite a little and I have never seen where it says to take it off, but I could see how it could be boasting. If it wasn’t for the memos I wouldn’t take mine off. Just because I smoke them for me, and I don’t feel the need to take it off.

  2. Question; I have been told that it is improper to leave the band of the cigar on when smoking. The reason is “old world” manners; no need to show-off the brand of cigar while enjoying it.

    • Great question. Although I have heard that before, from a practical point I don’t know anyone that actually does it. The reality is, if someone flaunts a cigar (in a manner that they are trying to show they are better than someone else) they will be pretty much smoking alone soon.

      I wouldn’t worry about taking off the labels.

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