Cigars are meant to be enjoyed. However, your enjoyment and the wellbeing of those around you could be affected by a lack of awareness and poor etiquette.
The do's and don'ts of smoking a cigar really depend on who you ask. There are some set-in-stone rules and common sense things to follow, but there are also best practices that might not be immediately apparent.
What follows is a guide into cigar smoking etiquette. These are all good things to know, and will help you to respect the people, locations and situations around you. They'll help you to avoid cigar smoking faux pas.
So let's explore how you can maintain good etiquette when smoking cigars.
Ask For Permission
It seems obvious enough that you should ask for permission of those around you unless you happen to be alone. Not everyone enjoys cigars as much as you do.
If you're in a cigar lounge, you can smoke without asking for permission. If you're at home, alone, then you can choose an appropriate location to light up (such as in the garage or on the patio), as long as it's not going to bother one of your family members later.
However, if you're with company, or you are anywhere other than a smoke shop, it's a good idea to ask for permission from those around you before lighting your cigar.
Of course, you'll also want to avoid smoking anywhere where it might be unlawful to do so. Most of the time, however, you'll be in that "gray area". Just remember to respect those around you, and the space in which you are looking to smoke your cigar.
Light Your Own Cigar
It is not good manners to light someone else's cigar or to ask someone else to light yours. This may very well be an accepted practice with cigarettes, but cigars are a little different.
If you light someone else's cigar, you might end up ruining the taste for them. The same could certainly be said for "borrowing a light."
Allow others to light their own cigars, and make sure to light your own. If someone specifically requests that you light their cigar, you can, but otherwise just tend to your own.
Bring Enough To Share
Although you can enjoy a cigar on your own, oftentimes it is a shared experience among friends (or it can quickly turn into one).
In particular, if you're celebrating a special occasion - such as a wedding or a newborn - the right thing to do is carry extras with you. Even if not for that, if you're in an environment where you need to ask for permission, you should offer your friends a cigar too.
Although you certainly don't need to share out your most expensive, most luxurious cigars, it's still a good idea to demonstrate your generosity when and where possible.
Remember not to beg others for cigars either. They should be aware of this etiquette principle, but if not, don't make a thing of it. In addition, when you are sharing sticks with others, an exchange of words is unnecessary. Open your case, and let others decide what they want to do.
Learn How To Hold A Cigar
Many people make the mistake of holding a cigar between their index and middle finger. Since a cigar is not a cigarette, it shouldn't be held in the same manner (remember what was said earlier about lighting your own cigar?).
The proper way to hold a cigar is between your thumb and index finger. In addition, don't point or gesture at people with a lit cigar, as this can be dangerous.
Take Your Time
Smoking a cigar is generally considered a leisurely activity. It should be looked upon as a reward after a long day. A bit of good news might inspire you to celebrate the occasion with a cigar too.
Remember not to pull out a cigar when you're rushed. Make sure you have plenty of time to kick back, and that there's nothing on your schedule that you might need to tend to.
Additionally, only draw from your cigar once every minute. A cigar is meant to be savored, and if you smoke it too quickly, you could end up ruining its flavor. If you don't have time for it, then you may want to rethink pulling out your sticks in the first place.
Smoking a cigar too quickly can also be seen as addictive behavior. Leave some time between draws, and if you're going to have a second, wait at least 15 minutes before picking up another stick.
Know When To Remove The Cigar's Band
When it comes to removing a cigar's band, there are different trains of thought, and there isn't necessarily a right or a wrong.
Some like to keep the band on, because they like the status of cigar smoking, and like to show off the quality and price of their cigar. Others remove it halfway, as it can make the band easier to remove.
The main thing to pay attention to is your company. Who are you smoking with, and what are they doing? If you find that everyone is removing their band before lighting up, you may want to follow suit. Another consideration might be that you are smoking a cigar that is considerably more expensive than what others are smoking. If this is the case, you may want to remove your band before lighting.
Situational awareness plays a big part in cigar smoking etiquette.
Obviously, whatever you do in the comfort of your own home stays there, and isn't necessarily going to harm or bother anyone.
However, sharing a smoke with a few friends is another matter altogether. You'll want to be aware of the price or quality of the cigars they're smoking and how you're holding your cigar. You'll want to remember to share, and to take your time.
Some people might have respiratory problems or simply don't like the smell of cigars. It's best to ask permission before lighting up, as this will allow you to enjoy your cigar without guilt, and without bothering or angering others unnecessarily.