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Cigar 101

How to Properly Hold a Cigar in Your Mouth

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

How you hold your cigar in your mouth can affect its draw, especially when you’re lighting up. It’s seems pretty rudimentary, but I’ve seen plenty of folks try to smoke their first cigar without adequately puffing on it. They’re afraid to take a draw. Don’t be shy. You have to puff more aggressively at first. But once the tobaccos have warmed up, you can draw on your cigar with more ease.

Most newbies are afraid of inhaling the smoke – an understandable concern because so many people have an aversion to cigarettes. Smoking a cigar is like drinking from a straw, but it is not like smoking a cigarette. You suck the smoke into your palate but not into your diaphragm. Wrap your lips around your cigar. That’s how you create a vacuum to draw the smoke in. In addition to the cigar etiquette we’ve already covered, here are some helpful suggestions for how should hold your cigar in your mouth.

Hold Your Cigar in Your Hand

First of all, unless you’re lighting your cigar with matches, you don’t really want to hold your cigar with your mouth exclusively. You should hold your cigar in your hand so its weight is supported without clamping down on it with your teeth. Holding your cigar in your hand preserves its integrity and its construction.

When you’re lighting up with matches, which usually requires two hands, hold the cigar gently in your mouth. You can steady your cigar with your teeth, but don’t bite down on it too hard or you will crack its wrapper leaf. Light the circumference of the cigar’s foot evenly and proceed to smoke it by holding it in your hand. Bring the cigar to your mouth to draw on it, then continue to hold it or set it in an ashtray in between puffs.

Gently Press Your Your Lips Around Your Cigar

Press your lips around your cigar to close most of the gaps where air can get in. That’s how you get an adequate draw. To keep your cigar from burning out, draw on it at least every minute or two. You don’t want to puff too fast or frequently, though, or your cigar will burn hot and become bitter.

Don’t Stick Half of Your Cigar in Your Mouth

You only need to put an inch or two of your cigar in your mouth to smoke it. Ravenously sticking five or six inches of your cigar into your jaw like a popsicle is overkill. You will also look funny if you are smoking in public.

Don’t Bite Down or Chew on Your Cigar

Avoid biting down on your cigar. The wrapper will crack and its construction will be compromised leading to an uneven or nonexistent draw. If you leave your cigar in your mouth without the aid of your hand for short spurts, don’t clamp down on it too hard.

Don’t Talk with Your Cigar in Your Mouth

It’s crass but not illegal to talk with a cigar in your mouth. We’ve all watched the scene in Goodfellas where Henry and Sonny convince Paulie to take over Sonny’s restaurant and Paulie retorts, “I don’ know anyting bout da restaurant business…,” as the syllables roll out from around the cigar in his mouth. It’s amusing and makes for classic cinema, but most people won’t understand what the hell you’re trying to say if you’re talking with your cigar in your mouth.

Don’t Saturate the End of Your Cigar with Saliva

When you smoke a cigar, saliva naturally accumulates on the head of your cigar. While a little moisture is okay and makes it easier to rotate your cigar in your mouth, too much is a bad thing. If the end of your cigar is inundated with moisture, the draw will become plugged.

Don’t Smoke Your Cigar Down Too Far

We know you never want to let a single puff go to waste. A lot of times when you’re really enjoying a cigar, you don’t want it to end. But there is a threshold you can cross where you could burn your lips or set your moustache on fire if you’re not sure how far to smoke your cigar. If you’ve got under an inch left and you can no longer safely hold your cigar with your hand, your lips are in imminent danger. Don’t push your luck by trying to smoke the entire nub of your cigar. You can wind up with a hot nub bouncing into your lap and burning everything it touches.

The most frugal aficionados we know will get a roach clip or put the nub in a corncob pipe to finish it off. If you like to smoke your cigars to the bitter end, take the band off before it starts burning.

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