Close this search box.

Cigar Etiquette- The Do’s & Don’ts

CigarCigar Info is a community-supported website.
We may earn a small commission on purchases made through our links. Learn more.

Cigar etiquette isn’t something that comes naturally with smoking and owning cigars, if only it was that easy.

The behavior and way one handles their smoking experience can say a lot about your style and you as a person. In the following post we highlight all you need to know about proper cigar etiquette, from grabbing it out of the box to completing it so you aren’t left caught out.

If you happen to live nearby to a cigar lounge then understanding the following is a great place to start. Also, just by watching aficionados in their element you will learn a lot too.

A lot of the etiquette comes from the more old-fashioned times, when gentleman removed hats to enter a room, opened doors for women. Although this does still happen in society, it is not as prevalent as it was ‘back in the day’.

Guide to Proper Cigar Etiquette

best cigar ashtray-materialsIn 1967 a Swiss tobacconist Zino Davidoff wrote an essay about cigar etiquette which has been and still is referred to by cigar smokers.

Outlined are the guidelines and manner one should behave in while smoking cigars.

A lot of the following posts stem from this mans guidelines, so an introduction felt most appropriate.

Warming the Foot of the Cigar

Slightly warming the foot of your cigar before puffing on it is recommended. This can be done by rolling it in your fingers and allowing your body heat to warm it up.

Remove the Band

After lighting the cigar remove the band. The heat from lighting it allows the band to come off quite easily. This isn’t very commonplace and will change depending on who you are smoking with. If you are unsure, wait to see what those around you do.

Take your Time

Smoking should be a pleasantly relaxing experience, not a hurried chore that needs to be done. The idea is to have one puff a minute but of course whatever suits you is best.

Holding the Cigar

Holding a CigarSplitting the aficionados from the complete beginners, the way you hold a cigar says a lot. A cigar should be held between your index finger and thumb and not between your index and middle finger.

While there is no clear reason as to why this rule has somewhat stuck over the centuries. Perhaps it is to separate cigar smokers from cigarette smokers.

Let the Cigar Die a Dignified Death

After a cigar has smoked halfway, it will go out on its own. Although some people do smoke until the last 1/4. Cigars aren’t designed to be smoked to the foot of the cigar. If you have done this you will know that it becomes very harsh to smoke the close it gets.

Dispose of the Dead Cigar

After your cigar ash has put itself out, dispose of it quickly and discreetly. No one likes to see smoked cigars laying around and there really is no need to keep them.

Time Between Cigars

Give at least 15 minutes between smoking cigars, anything less than this is considered obsessive behavior.


Cigar Etiquette What Not To Do - Infographic CigarCigar Info

What Not to Do

Do Not use a Penknife

Don’t use a knife to cut or pierce the end of a cigar, this will destroy and mutilate the cigar for no good reason.

Do not put the cigar in the Flame

We have a guide on how to light a cigar so be sure to read through this if you are unsure. A cigar should be rotated around above the cigar lighter until it begins to burn. A cigar should be toasted as opposed to lit on fire.

Never Ask for a Light

Never lean in and ask someone else to light a cigar for you. This is a serious business so always light your own cigars, borrow friends matches, or lighters sure but you should be the one to light it.

Time the Lighting Process

Don’t be too rushed to get your cigar alight, take your time, pause, and admire the process.  Admire the beauty, detail, and craftsmanship that has gone into a cigar.

Do Not Relight your Cigar if less than 1/4 of it is leaf

If a cigar continually extinguishes itself then perhaps you ought to leave it out, continually lighting a cigar can alter the flavor and aroma.

Do Not Hold a Cigar in your Mouth to Relight

Considered poor manners, hold the cigar in your fingertips, rotating to light it in the correct manner.

Do Not Clench a cigar between your Teeth

Cigar smoking is an elegant and sophisticated display, do not clench your teeth and do not talk with a cigar in your mouth.

Do Not Wet the End

No chewing, slobbering, or wetting the end of a cigar unless it is burning unevenly in which case you may like to moisten your finger to adjust the burning.

Do Not use a Cigar Holder

Designed to be held in your fingers, cigars engage all your senses, touch included. being able to feel the cigar can let you know if it is burning too hot or too cold.

Do Not use a Toothpick or Matchstick

Cigars aren’t designed to be held continually in your mouth, for this reason, hold it between your fingers and leave the stick behind.

Do Not Dip a Cigar in Port or Brandy

While it was a common habit of Winston Churchill leave it at that. Doing this will greatly change the flavor profile that makes cigars unique and individual. You are better off pairing it but never dipping.

Do Not Smoke and Work

Stressful situations should not be paired with cigars. While they are a relaxing item and a great way to unwind smoking during a particularly stressful time is not advised. Save it for when you’re home, pour a drink, light a cigar, sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Bottom Line

As mentioned, these are a set of etiquette guidelines that were noted in 1967, the fact that they are still around and acknowledged today goes to show the strength and truth behind them. Although your smoking experience is exactly that – individual to you. We simply suggest enjoying your smoking experience, in whatever way that means for you.

Cigar cutter Prestige Royal
Dan Stevenson
Dan Stevenson

I have been smoking cigars for 30 years and counting, I started at 18 years old with mild Cubans and worked my way up to medium and now bold. I own 4 humidors, that I try to keep stocked at all times.

Cigar Cigar