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Cigar 101

How to Get Rid of Cigar Breath

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

First of all, don’t panic. Smoking a cigar does not guarantee you’re going to have bad breath. This is a common fear among new cigar smokers in particular. Good cigars, generally, won’t give you bad breath. There are reasons, however, why a cigar’s aftertaste may linger too long on your palate, or why your cigar didn’t taste good in the first place, prompting you to cleanse your mouth to remove any traces of it. We also understand you may be self-conscious about smoking because your girlfriend or significant other is sensitive to cigars. Follow our tips for how to prevent and get rid of cigar breath, and we’re positive you won’t be banished from the house just because you enjoyed a cigar.

What Causes Cigar Mouth?

Before we blame cigars, know that bad breath, or halitosis, as it’s known in the scientific community, is caused by food, health conditions, and habits. Following proper dental hygiene like regular brushing and flossing is your first line of defense against bad breath – whether or not you smoke cigars. What you consume creates bacteria in your mouth and affects your breath.

What you’ve had to eat or drink before or during your cigar smoking will greatly impact the taste of your cigar, as well as its aftertaste and your breath. Salty foods can dry out your palate and may not agree with your cigar, for example. Check out our cigar pairings when you want to know what cigars taste best with your favorite drink or meal.

Smoking on a dry palate can cause the taste of your cigar to stick around. Sip on some water or a carbonated beverage to keep your palate fresh while you smoke.

Smoking bad cigars is another cause of bad cigar breath. Bad cigars are ammonia-rich, bitter, and often metallic-tasting because the tobacco used in their construction has not been fermented properly. Our advice: never finish a bad cigar. Let it go out, and smoke something else.

Smoking your cigar too fast is another way you can wind up with a bad taste in your mouth. Premium handmade cigars are carefully constructed to combust at an even pace. If you huff your cigar down in a hurry, it will burn hot, taste harsh, and leave an unpleasant, tarry residue on your tongue.


Keep bad breath at bay by following a few cigar basics and our advice for preventing it in the first place:

  • Smoking the best cigars is the easiest way to prevent bad cigar breath. There are so many amazing cigars to choose from today, there’s no excuse for smoking bad cigars.
  • Drink water and keep your palate hydrated while you smoke. A dry mouth encourages bacteria and bad breath. Water washes and cleanses your mouth and is essential with all of the other preventative methods we cover.
  • Drink a carbonated beverage. Seltzer and tonic water cleanse the palate as you drink them. That’s why a lot of aficionados will sip on a vodka or gin and tonic with a cigar. Citrusy cocktails with orange, lemon, and lime also refresh the palate.  
  • Smoke slowly. Give your palate a rest in between puffs. Anywhere between thirty seconds and a minute is good. You’ll perceive much more flavor in your cigar, it will burn cooler, and you won’t overheat your mouth or dry your palate out.
  • Don’t smoke the nub. How far you should smoke a cigar is a matter of preference, but the last few inches represent the hottest and most intense portion of your cigar. Stop smoking short of the cigar band to ensure the heat doesn’t get too close to your palate. 

Getting Rid of Cigar Mouth

Okay, you just finished an impromptu cigar with your buddies, but you got a text from your spouse who is beckoning you home ASAP. Here are some quick and easy remedies to get the cigar taste out of your mouth.  

Brush Your Teeth  

Brushing and flossing is a fast and easy way to get the cigar taste out of your mouth. Some folks use a tongue scraper after smoking a cigar because scraping is actually more effective at removing odor-causing bacteria than brushing.


Lots of cigar lovers swear Listerine gets rid of cigar breath. Smart Mouth gets great reviews too. Toss a small travel bottle in your glove box, and always be prepared to eradicate any traces of your cigar after a night of poker with your pals.

Gargle with Hydrogen Peroxide

Some folks take the standard brushing and gargling protocol one step further. Dilute a shot of hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water, and swish it around and gargle.

Gum and Mints

Gum and breath mints are good to have on hand, but they do more to mask your cigar breath than eliminate it. Pop a couple of Tic Tacs or Altoids in, and keep your confidence high if you’re worried someone will smell a cigar on you. 

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