Rolling and smoking cigars has been a common and artistic ritual for mankind over the last millennium or so. Knowing how far back history reaches might cause the average person to assume there is nothing to it, but that would be nothing short of hubris.

While simple enough in theory, there are definitely a few things that every beginner cigar smoker should keep in mind before getting started. While your cigar smoking experience is ultimately in your hands, these tips should help make for an overall more enjoyable pastime.

Lit cigar on top of cigar box

1.      Pace Yourself

The biggest and most important advice that can be given to a beginner would be simply to go slow, as slow as possible. This means a few different things, all of which are crucially important for you to consider if you want to enjoy your cigar smoking experience.

The most common of all rookie smokers’ mistakes is simply not accounting for nicotine. New cigar smokers, especially those who do not already use other nicotine products such as vapes or cigarettes, do not have any tolerance to nicotine. As a result, smoking a cigar can cause nausea, headaches, and even vomiting.

If you have never smoked a cigar or anything else for that matter, you probably will not even be able to finish your first cigar in one go. Feel your limits, and do not try to force too much smoke down, as the result would not be fun for you or anyone you might be smoking with. Another good way to avoid too much nicotine is to smoke lighter, milder cigars. These will have a bit less nicotine and might be more palatable for a beginner as well.

Beyond ensuring that you do not take down more nicotine than you can handle, you also want to make sure that you are not burning through the cigar too quickly either. New cigar smokers who do already smoke cigarettes or vape might feel a little overconfident and are prone to smoke as they would anything else.

Unlike smoking cigarettes or using vaporizers, cigars are not meant for constant pulls. Try to take a puff every minute or so, at most, or you run the risk of overheating your cigar. This not only will cause it to burn through much faster, but also can make the flavor less pleasing and burn your mouth.

2.      Combine Sensations

What makes cigars special in the world of nicotine products is the artistry that goes into making as relaxing a smoking experience as possible. Each experience is inherently unique, and appeases all five of your senses.

When you take a puff, your mouth is filled with thick smoke that exudes deep, earthy flavors reminiscent of coffee, leather, wood, and much more. Your nose picks up these scents, amplifying the taste in your mouth and binding the experience to the recesses of your memory. As you pull the smoke into your mouth, you hear the embers crackling on the end, burning down your cigar.

Once you exhale, you see the smoke dance before your eyes, lilting and drifting around your head, almost dancing. You can blow thick rings, and watch as they float away. Another moment passes, and the intense buzz of the nicotine is on your lips.

This combination of flavors and senses is what has made smoking cigars such an appealing ritual for many. With this in mind, a great way to further improve your experience as a cigar smoker would be to add even more stimuli to the mix.

Food and drink can be very complimentary to your cigar, though what you prefer will come down to trial and error. A soda can be a light, bubbly, and sweet way to counteract the heavy feeling you might have from smoking a cigar. A glass of whiskey or your alcoholic beverage of choice can amplify the physical sensations in your mouth and throat. Chewing mint leaves can also make for a refreshing contrast to the thick smoke.

3.      Clean Up

This does not only apply to those whose partners are not fans of the smell of smoke. There is not much that can ruin your smoking experience as easy as having someone tell you that you reek only minutes later. If you are not exclusively spending time with other smokers, it is a great practice to try and eradicate as much of the pungent smell as you can before interacting with others.

Mouthwash or even very light spraying of a lightly-scented air freshener can work wonders in snuffing out the worst of the smells that will stick to you. If the weather permits, try smoking with a coat and gloves that you can shed later as needed. Your hands in particular will absorb a great deal of the smell, so be aware of that before waving them around.

The best option is, of course, to shower as soon as possible. Even if it is not a possibility at a particular social gathering, be sure to rinse off before you go to bed. There are few smells as repulsive as day-old cigar smoke the morning after.

4.      Be Aware of Your Surroundings

This tip goes hand-in-hand with cleaning up, but you absolutely should try to be aware of the places and people around you when you light up your cigar. Consideration of others will go a long way in helping you to have a pleasant smoking experience overall.

Some obvious things to keep an eye out for are children, whom you certainly should not smoke around. Make sure you only smoke in a place where it is permitted or risk having to put out your cigar immediately. Generally, be aware of the fact that cigar smoke, more so than almost any other kind, is incredibly pungent.

For those who do not smoke regularly or at all, having someone blowing thick cigar smoke around you can be incredibly repulsive. Both out of consideration of others, and to avoid any nasty words that may be thrown in your direction, it is a good idea to take in your surroundings and account for the people around you before smoking.

5.      Make it an Occasion

Three people cheersing with champagne glasses

If there is one thing that a cigar is made for, it is a special occasion. Generally speaking, cigarette smokers and people who use vape products more often than not are just trying to feed their nicotine addiction. These options are more convenient and far less time-consuming, but this also makes them a little more pedestrian.

When you imagine a group of people smoking cigars, why are they doing it? There are a great many reasons, and almost all of them are momentous. A parent who just welcomed their first child, a young adult celebrating their college graduation, or someone getting the promotion they have been working towards for years, these are only some of the classic occasions. Whatever your big moment is, a cigar is a great way to enhance it.

There is no right or wrong reason to smoke a cigar, but the best way to keep the ritual sacred and special to you is to save your cigars for the most sacred and special moments of your life. Smell and taste are the senses most strongly tied to memory, so if you keep them for special occasions, every cigar is an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane.

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