The Only Etiquette Guide you Need to Know about Cigar or Pipe Tobacco Smoking

There are no hard and fast rules for smoking in public in the company of others who may or may not enjoy the smell of fine pipe tobacco wafting on the evening breeze or enveloping a room over an after dinner brandy.

But, know going in you want to be sympathetic to the social mores of the group your hanging out with. Or, you are going to just irritate people and probably lose a friend or two along the way. Here is our short list of social faux pas you want to avoid.

When in doubt a lady or a gentlemen always asks, end of story. If you are lighting up some fine pipe tobacco hand or machine rolled or a cigar pulled from the humidor just ask before you fire up. Yes, some people do have respiratory issues and second hand smoke is not good for their health and let’s be honest, you are just going to irritate them and make a negative karma deposit if you don’t ask and/or suddenly fire up.

And, once they tell you “no that’s not cool….” then don’t ask them the same question worded differently over and over. Have some class and move on to another location or bite the bullet and keep that cigar in your travel humidor.

Never light up a ladies cigar for her. If it’s a cigarette then that’s all good but not her cigar. If you light that cigar up for them they are losing the ability to control the draw process and you may force them to draw too hard and fast on the cigar, ruining the cigar. The ironclad rule is keep your powder dry and your Zippo lighter in your pocket.

A gentlemen always brings sufficient quantities of cigars or cigarettes (hand or machine rolled) to share. End of story that is an absolute rule to live by. If your lighting up a cigar in public think about it beforehand and bring sufficient quantities to spread some joy around the room.

Be classy and offer a cigar or smoke without being asked and for the former just hold out your traveling humidor and let the other party select their stick and/or if they even want to partake.

To remove the that cigar band or not is always a tough call and subject to interpretation. You can find convincing arguments on either side advocating removing the band with you are half way through the cigar, ensuring you don’t destroy the cigar and giving time for the heat from the cigar to melt the glue holding the band on.

  • Some cigar aficionados consider leaving the band on a way of self promoting the brand of cigar you are smoking and think you should be conscious of your surroundings (people and what they are smoking) and you should remove the band in many cases if you are not sure you want or need to send a signal about your stick.
  • Again, it’s a tough call and there is no one single philosophy you should follow.

How you hold your stick sends a signal about how savvy you are. Don’t be a newby cigar smoker. It’s not a cigarette and it should not be held between your index and middle finger. Don’t use a cigar as pointer accessory; don’t wave it around like its an extension of your body, it is not an appendage of any type. You are just looking like a movie producer mogul and no offense meant, but most of you are not Harvey Weinstein.

Never under any circumstance should you chew on a stick. It’s not a pack of gum and if you are chewing on it even casually you are ruining the wrapper and your stick may fall apart on you, your restricting the air flow of the smoke and negating your ability to really enjoy the cigar. Damp tobacco does not typically have a good taste either.

A great cigar should be treated as something you savor. Smoking a cigar while driving down the road or when you are in the office or walking is not the right way to enjoy a stick. Savor a fine cigar like a great wine; smoke it when you can savor the experience and use it as a way to relax and unwind after a hard day. Life is good right?

Take your time when smoking a cigar. A great rule of thumb for smoking a cigar so you don’t ruin the product is taking a draw on the cigar once a minute. If you constantly puff on a cigar you risk overheating it and ruining the flavor. As earlier, savor a cigar and smoke it intelligently.

Never chain smoke cigars one after the other. Give your pallet time to readjust and take a break for 30-45 minutes between cigars at a bare minimum. If you are smoking the same brand then less frequency between cigars is fine; but, if dramatically different types of cigars take a break.

Put a stick down in a manner that doesn’t ruin the experience for others around you. No cigar should be stubbed out in an ashtray, it splits the wrapper, causing the cigar to smolder and release in many cases not a great smelling plume of smoke. Let the cigar go out on its own and get rid of it in a manner that doesn’t leave it snuffed out in an ashtray like a discarded chewing gum wrapper.

If you stub out a cigar in an ashtray and try to relight it later that is never going to be a good smoking experience. Let it go out on its own and in some cases you may be good to go on relighting it later. But, in some cases the taste is not going to be as good as when you first lit it.

Learn more:

Is Hookah Smoking an Alternative to Pipe Tobacco?

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