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The New Rules of Cigar Etiquette

The New Rules of Cigar Etiquette

Etiquette; [et-i-kit, -ket]; noun

The customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.


Etiquette means different things to different people. We like to think that etiquette and manners exist to help others feel more comfortable. Unfortunately, some codes of etiquette seem designed to do just the opposite, and manners become a sort of secret language spoken between people who know the “rules” so they can pass judgement on the people who don’t. Forks on the left, knives on the right.

Cigar etiquette is often guilty of the latter kind, where the prospect of smoking a cigar becomes even more intimidating as you read the list of do’s and don’ts. So as part of our mission to make cigars modern and approachable, we’re here to provide a simplified guide to cigars that will help you navigate the murky waters.

Without further ado, we present Good Cigar Co.’s Guide to Modern Cigar Etiquette. Grab your jorts or monocle as you please.

Ask Permission To Light Up

Unless you're in a cigar bar, you should make sure your billowing smoke isn’t bothering people around you. So before you light up, check in with the people within 15 feet of you if they mind. Cigars let out a lot of smoke, and the aroma travels further than you'd think. Maybe the table next to you is on their first date. Maybe it’s Grandma’s birthday party. See a baby? Don’t even think about it.

More often than not, you'll find that people enjoy the smell of cigars, and they'll appreciate your thoughtful consideration. In fact, this can be a wonderful way to introduce yourself to the people around you, who may even ask to join you. And if you should be so lucky as to make some new friends….

Always Bring a Spare

Cigars are always better when enjoyed with good company, so if you're planning on bringing a good cigar somewhere, bring an extra to share.

While we recommend being generous to the first person who asks if you have a spare, you may want to reserve the option for an especially deserving person. At a wedding? Before handing your extra cigar to the drunkest groomsman, make an offer to the Father-of-the-Bride.

Cut & Light Your Own Cigar

Cutting and lighting are two of the sacred rituals of smoking a cigar, so be sure to let others have the experience as personal preferences can vary. Give others the option to cut and light their own cigar, but make sure to offer help if they might appreciate it. As you hand out the goods, ask around.

"Would you like to cut your own cigar, or would you prefer that I do it?"  It's that simple.

No One Cares if you Remove the Label

In every summary of cigar etiquette, you'll find some opinion on whether or not the label should be removed. Should you take it off before lighting? If not, when? We’d like to finally close the book on this issue by stating emphatically - it doesn’t matter.

This originally came about so that folks wouldn't feel especially superior (or inferior) when comparing their cigar to those around them. These days, the specific cigar brand you’re smoking can be a conversation starter, and the only reason to remove the label is to make sure it doesn’t catch fire as you smoke down to the end. We’re also fond of keeping the label every time you have a good cigar for the first time.

Is it Okay to Spit?

If you have to ask, the answer is no.

Usually having a drink with your cigar will quell the urge to spit, and luckily there are a whole host of spirits that pair beautifully with cigars. If you prefer to avoid the hard stuff, we’d highly recommend cream soda. You’ll thank us.

Don't Grind it Out When Finished

Would you shatter a bottle of champagne after drinking it? If not, then don’t grind your cigar into the ashtray or the ground at the end. If you do shatter your champagne bottles after you finish them, uhhh, what kind of parties are you going to and can we get an invite?

It’s best to simply leave the cigar in an ashtray and let it burn out by itself, taking care to empty the ashtray before the end of the night.

That's it. Don't overcomplicate it. Stay tuned for more updates.

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