Cigar etiquette as a concept has existed as long as people have been enjoying cigars in social spaces. Among the earliest attempts to put such protocols in writing was the “Guide to Cigar Etiquette” by Zino Davidoff. But, of course, these rules are constantly evolving with the times. Let us look at five etiquette tips every beginner should know.
1. Smoke where smokers are accepted.
Modern cigar smokers face additional challenges in a society that is increasingly restrictive and perhaps even a bit hostile toward smokers. As the smoker, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re not breaking the law and that you’re not offending anyone concerned with the health aspects. Ideally, you should smoke at lounges that are dedicated to likeminded people who enjoy cigars.
2. Appreciate the cadence of enjoying a cigar.
Among the biggest mistakes new cigar smokers make is puffing like mad. Cigars are meant to be an experience, and you should approach it accordingly. A general rule you can adhere to before you find your own appropriate style is a tug a minute. Be mindful that excessive smoke or having to relight your cigar can affect the experience of the other cigar smokers around you.
3. Hold the cigar between your thumb and index finger.
Is there a strong reason for this rule? No. Not that we know of. It’s intuitive for most novices to hold a cigar between their middle fingers and index fingers. Is this a significant faux pas? Certainly not, but it will let other smokers know that you’re a novice and that may be something you want to avoid.
4. Never ask for a light or offer one.
You can certainly ask someone to borrow their torch or matches. But never extend a light or request one through words or body language. Lighting a cigar is personal component of the overall experience. In addition, never light the cigar too slowly or too quickly.
5. Never dip your cigar into anything.
Winston Churchill was famous for dipping his cigar into brandies and ports. Do this at home if you must, and we can certainly understand that Churchill was a person with little privacy. Among fellow smokers, however, this is generally viewed as crude behavior and unwelcomed. There definitely seems to be more proclivity to this among younger smokers, but it certainly hasn’t become accepted yet.
The New York Times has famously attempted to boil cigar etiquette down to four basic rules. It is a sold effort but perhaps written with a particular smoker in mind. The modern cigar smoker is much more diverse, and you will need to filter any etiquette suggestions through who you are as a smoker and the social circles in which you move.