Will a normal lighter ruin a cigar? This is a common question I get and the answer is simple - yes, something like a BIC lighter can negatively impact your cigar-smoking experience.
It pains me to see people using standard lighters on their cigars when the alternative is much more satisfying and allows you to get more out of your stogies. To explain further, I take a look at regular lighters compared to torch lighters below, and why the latter is better for cigar aficionados.
The Potential Issues with Using a Normal Lighter
Normal lighters such as BIC lighters are perfectly fine if you have no alternative but they are not the best solution. Due to the type of flame, the fuel, and the design, these lighters have limitations and I dislike the cheap and nasty design too.
Let’s face it, no one buys a BIC lighter because of how stylish it looks! Other major drawbacks to these lighters for cigar usage include:
- Tainting of the cigar flavor.
- Uneven burning of the leaves.
- Harder lighting process.
The main issue is the fuel type as some regular lighters do not use butane. If an alternative fuel source is used instead of butane, it can leave a nasty taint to the taste of your cigar and spoil the flavors whereas butane is odorless.
Regular lighters have a soft flame too which is affected by winds and is not as powerful as the jet flame of a torch lighter. This makes it more difficult when trying to light the larger circumference of a cigar in contrast to a much smaller cigarette.
Using a regular lighter for cigars can also result in tunneling and canoeing and getting an uneven burn from your cigar.
Why a Torch Lighter is a Better Alternative
With the limitations of regular lighters outlined, why is a torch lighter a better alternative? I love the stylish and sophisticated designs of these devices and the best lighters for cigars look incredible which is a plus compared to the relatively cheap and basic design of regular lighters.
Aside from the aesthetics, torch lighters have a range of operational benefits too, including:
- More powerful and consistent flame.
- Odorless fuel.
- Not affected by wind.
- Easier to use.
The main benefit is the power and consistency of the flame. They are called jet lighters for a reason and the flame is infinitely more powerful than the wispy flame of a regular lighter. This is perfect for the larger circumference of a cigar and allows you to light it more easily.
The fuel used in torch lighters is typically butane which compared to some regular lighter fuel is odorless which means that there is no taint to your cigar flavor either.
The powerful flame also allows you to get a consistent and even burn on your cigar and avoid effects like tunneling and canoeing. The flame is essentially directionless too which means it isn’t affected by the wind so torch lighters are much safer to use too.
Tips for Perfecting Cigar Lighting
So, will a normal lighter ruin a cigar? Sometimes yes, but you can also ruin a cigar with a torch lighter if you don’t light it properly! To help, I have listed some simple tips below.
Prepare your cigar properly
You must unwrap your cigar first and take it out of the plastic wrapper before lighting it - no one wants to smell burnt plastic! Make sure that you cut the head approximately ¼” from the end too with your cigar cutter.
Rotate the cigar for an even burn
The simplest mistake I see people making is holding their cigars in one position and by doing this you probably aren’t lighting the entire thing. Instead, make sure you rotate the cigar slowly so that the entire circumference makes contact with the flame for an even burn.
Take your time!
Lighting a cigar isn’t a process to be rushed! Take your time and enjoy lighting as part of the process. It’s not a race - go slow and do the job properly.
Angle the cigar, not the lighter
Although torch lighter flames are directionless, it’s still best practice to angle your cigar instead of the lighter as this helps avoid any awkward positioning and potential for burns.
Use the Right Tools for the Best Cigar Smoking Experience
If you are invested in cigars and enjoy the pastime, you should do things properly and buy the most suitable tools, including a lighter. Of course, you can use a standard BIC lighter. Still, you must contend with the potentially tainted taste and ineffective and uneven burning compared to the odorless and even action of a torch lighter.
Will a normal lighter ruin a cigar? Possibly, yes! This is why for the best experience and to enjoy your smokes to the maximum, a quality torch lighter is a brilliant investment.