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    Smoking a cigar is not the same as lighting up a cigarette; it takes time, attention to detail, and, often, some practice to do correctly. Rather than popping one out of the pack and immediately lighting and inhaling, properly smoking a cigar involves cutting, toasting, and lighting it before being able to smoke it. After choosing a cigar to smoke, follow these steps to learn how you should be smoking a cigar.

     

    1. Cutting

    After selecting your cigar of choice, you will have to cut off the head of the cigar at the tip to create a space for the smoke to easily pass through. Most cigar aficionados recommend that you use a cutter built specifically for the purpose of clipping the ends of cigars - single blade cutters are easy to use, and double blade cutters will give a cleaner cut. Knives are an acceptable substitute if a cutter is not available, but avoid using your teeth to bite through the tip of the cigar - it will tear the wrapper leaves, leading to uneven lighting and flavoring, and spitting excess tobacco out is not a good look for anyone.

     

    1. Lighting

    Once you have clipped the head of the cigar off, you will have to toast the end of it as you begin the process of lighting. Do not use a cigarette lighter or short matches - they will not stay lit long enough, nor will they have a large enough flame to properly light a cigar, particularly if you are smoking a cigar with a larger ring gauge. Torch lighters or long kitchen matches work much better. When toasting the end of the cigar, hold the cigar above the flame rather than directly in it; the latter will ruin the initial flavor of the cigar. Gently turn the cigar until the end is evenly burning, and when it begins to glow orange, you are ready to actually put the cigar in your mouth and start puffing.

     

    1. Smoking

    The biggest mistake that first-time cigar smokers make is to inhale into the lungs - do not do this. Instead, pull gently on the cigar as if you were sucking on a straw to fill your mouth with smoke, and then release it by blowing out. After you have lit the end of the cigar, pull like this four or five times in quick succession so that the cigar starts producing thick smoke - at this point, the cigar is fully lit. After successfully lighting your cigar, it will burn continuously, so you will only need a puff or two per minute; cigars are meant to be enjoyed, so take it slow - depending on the size and tobacco, smoking a cigar in full may take anywhere from half an hour to a full two hours.

     

    Quick note: Leaving the wrapper on is a matter of individual preference. If you would prefer to remove the wrapper, wait until the heat of smoking the cigar loosens the adhesive - trying to remove it beforehand can tear the wrapper leaf of the cigar itself.