It surprises me how many people fall short at the last hurdle before enjoying their cigars. They’ve gone to the effort of investing in a humidor, and have a stock of quality stogies, but when it comes to savoring the flavor and enjoying a smoke, they don’t light up properly!
Now, some of you may think this is just cigar snobbery, but I want to show you how using the correct tools to light your stogies is important. Therefore, below, I answer the question, can you light a cigar with a regular lighter?
The Importance of Lighting Your Cigar Correctly
Lighting cigars is like an art form, it takes practice and patience and for me, it’s part of the enjoyment and relaxation. It's like you're preparing a canvas ready to be painted! Light your cigar correctly and your smoking experience will be that much more enjoyable. Factors relating to how you light your cigar include:
- How you light a cigar can affect the taste.
- You can create an uneven burn (known as a canoe or tunnel).
- You can waste time and effort.
- You can burn too much of the cigar and waste its flavor.
Firstly, the fuel you use can greatly impact the taste as you will see below. If you don’t rotate the cigar over the heat source, you can create an uneven burn too which is known as a canoe or tunnel. With the proper technique and lighter, you also save time and effort and once you master the art you will be firing up your stogies in no time.
Lastly, if you go at it like a bull in a gate you can simply end up wasting your cigars and burning too much without actually experiencing the flavor!
Are There Different Types of Cigar Lighters?
It’s important to understand the different types of lighting tools for your cigars and the most popular include:
- Soft flame lighters.
- Torch flame or jet flame lighters.
- Wooden matches.
- Zippo lighters.
- Cedar spills
Soft flame lighters like BIC lighters use butane and are the cheapest solution. The best option, in my opinion, is a proper jet flame or torch flame cigar lighter due to their build quality, powerful flame, and usability.
Wooden matches make a great alternative too but aren’t great to use outdoors, and Zippo lighters should be avoided at all costs due to the nasty petrol taste they can leave! Lastly, if you are a traditionalist, cedar spills (strips of cedar wood) can be used as a clean fuel source.
The Benefits of Using a Quality Cigar Lighter
There is nothing inherently wrong with using a regular lighter for your cigars, but if you are serious about your stogies then a quality cigar lighter is the way forward and they offer the following benefits:
- Safer to use to avoid burns.
- More powerful flame for an easier burn.
- Much easier to get an even burn of your cigars.
- They look fantastic!
Compared to regular lighters, the mechanism and ignition are usually safer and easier to avoid burns. Because the flame is more powerful you can also light your cigars easier and achieve an even burn.
Lastly, come on, which looks better? A cheap and filthy plastic BIC lighter or a quality cigar lighter with a stylish exterior and premium materials? There is only one winner!
Is it OK to Light a Cigar With a Bic Lighter?
The crux of this article is answering the question, can you light a cigar with a regular lighter such as a BIC lighter? In short, yes you can, but it’s not the best lighting solution.
We all know how cheap and nasty BIC lighters are but because they use butane gas, they can be a substitute for a proper jet flame lighter if needed. The main problem is the inability to create an even burn with your cigar.
It is much more difficult to get an even burn with a BIC lighter due to the position of the ignition wheel in proximity to the flame and you can burn yourself easily. This is why investing in a high-quality cigar lighter is a better alternative to avoid harm and to get a consistent burn with your stogies. I would only recommend cheap lighters like BICs as a last resort.
Use the Right Tools to Get the Best Flavor From Your Cigars
So, can you light a cigar with a regular lighter? Yes, but there are consequences! BIC lighters are perfectly fine as they use butane gas but for the best results, you still want to use either a jet flame lighter, wooden matches, or if you want to be extra fancy and traditional, Cedar spills.
I advise steering clear of Zippo lighters because although they are efficient, the petrol fuel can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. With the right lighter, you then need to use it properly including rotating your cigar around the flame and gently toasting it as opposed to a full-on frontal assault.