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Stogie Tip: Proper Cigar Etiquette

19 Jul 2006

Just like any other fantastic hobby (it’s not a habit), cigar smoking should be more relaxing than cumbersome. But there are a few rules you should follow in order to respect your fellow man and, more importantly, get the most out of your experience. Since I’ve already shared with you my tips on cutting and lighting stogies, I think now is a great time to discuss proper cigar etiquette.

1) Where to smoke. It goes without saying that if you’re on your own property, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. But – if you’re like me – most of your stogies are smoked outside your personal realm and in the presence of other Americans. If you’re at a friend’s place, it never hurts to ask. That’s the considerate thing to do, whether your outdoors enjoying a barbeque or indoors enjoying a game of Parcheesi. Nine times out of ten when you’re outside, cigar smoking will be OK (just make sure there’s an ash tray around so you’re not sullying your friend’s deck, patio, plants, etc.). Conversely, nine times out of ten when you’re inside, smoking will be off limits. Just make sure to abide by your gracious host’s wishes, whatever they may be.

Now if you happen to be out at an establishment – not covered by a Draconian smoking ban – and you witness patrons smoking cigarettes, but you’re not sure if cigars are allowed (say, at Grumpy’s in Baltimore with a bunch of your buddies on Saturday night after you violently and seriously stubbed your toe in a drunken stupor on the way to the bar) it’s best to ask one of the establishment’s employees. In my case, Grumpy’s had no policy against cigars – so I lit up a La Rosa Cubana. Some patrons may bitch and moan (even people smoking cigarettes, which I can’t understand), but too bad for them. You’re well within your rights to completely ignore their objections. Just like private residences, when you’re at a private establishment it’s necessary to abide by the owner’s policies.

2) When to ash. First off, let me once again reiterate that you must ash in an ashtray. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen cigar smokers ash on floors, in potted plants – even in toilets. Tisk, tisk.

That being said, when to ash is a much more convoluted topic. Any Stogie Guy will tell you that letting the ash build up at the foot of your cigar is a good thing – it cools the smoke thereby increasing the flavor of the stogie. But if you let the ash grow too long, it can fall at an unexpected and inconvenient time. My advice is this: If you’re somewhere falling ash won’t be a big problem (say, on a golf course), go ahead and let it accumulate for an inch or so. But if you’re at a fancy cocktail party standing on a $15,000 Persian rug, ash early and ash often.

3) When to take off the band. While some say it’s showy and impolite to leave the band on your cigar, I couldn’t disagree more. In my experience, leaving the band on is a great conversation starter that helps cigar aficionados meet one another.

If you do decide to remove the cigar band, make sure you let the cigar heat up before taking it off. The heat from the foot will help loosen the glue that holds the band on. It’s also important to note that taking the band off some brands of Cuban cigars (even after heating), like the Montecristo, is very difficult and can result in damage to the cigar wrapper. So in my personal opinion, keep the band on as long as you like – just don’t smoke it.

Follow these simple steps and your next stogie experience will be even more pleasant. If you have any additional tips of your own, please feel free to leave a comment. Happy smoking!

-Patrick A

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15 Responses to “Stogie Tip: Proper Cigar Etiquette”

  1. Anonymous Wednesday, July 19, 2006 at 9:16 am #

    Good article, very informative. I leave the band on, too.

  2. Ray C Wednesday, July 19, 2006 at 3:01 pm #

    Do you guys try and slip the band over the head of the cigar or just detatch the band?

  3. Jerry @ Stogie Review Wednesday, July 19, 2006 at 3:35 pm #

    Great stuff as always! I too leave the band on.

    No stogie etiquette on what to do with the butt when you’re done? What if I find myself walking down Conn. Ave and no ashtray in sight? Stick it in my pocket?

  4. Patrick A Wednesday, July 19, 2006 at 5:15 pm #

    Ray C- I recommend carefully detaching the band. If you try to slip it over the head it may damage the cigar’s wrapper. Some cigars have very tight bands.

    Jerry- You may have to improvise in some sitations. But if you’re sure the cigar is completely out, a trash can will do. (Also, keep in mind many trash cans have sand ash trays on top these days.)

  5. Sporran Wednesday, August 2, 2006 at 9:36 am #

    Does anyone make it a habit of saving said removed, but not smoked of course, bands for artistic purposes? I personally am saving my bands with the goal of someday papering a "gentleman's room" with them. Or at the very least a border.

    I would have to agree however that it is best to use a knife and carefully remove the band. Removing the band by slippage is too risky to the welfare of the cigar.

    Great blog guys…keep it up!

  6. Patrick A Thursday, August 31, 2006 at 12:16 pm #

    Yeah, I started saving my bands about a year ago.

    I now have a bunch in an old cigar box next to my humidors. I’m not really quite sure why I’m doing this, but I have the feeling they may come in handy some day.

    In any event, this subject may merit a future post. Thanks for writing, Sporran.

  7. trmadol Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 6:19 pm #

    I always have terrible trouble with comment-related plugins that require me to put some line in the comment loop; I can never seem to find the right spot. Can anyone tell me where I should put the php line in my comments loop? I haven not modified anything much, and I would be very grateful. Thanks!

  8. Harold Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 5:04 am #

    I take my bands and stick them to a bit of paper where I make notes about the cigar. I have a little folder with my personal take on the cigars I smoke. Quite helpful to remember which ones were good and which to stay away from.

  9. Cigar Seeker Monday, May 10, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    The most important reason to leave the band on may be that it prevents the wrapper from unraveling. For years I always removed the band before smoking. I would estimate that the wrapper unraveled at least partially on me between 1 cigar out of 4 to 1 cigar out of 3. I've smoked 6 now leaving the band on, and none have unravled yet. Not a large sample, but from the lack of comments here about wrappers unraveling, I suspect it is rarely a problem. That may be because most experienced smokers leave the band on. From now on, I'll be doing that too, for sure.

  10. ken farley Friday, March 4, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    I have been smoking cigars for about a year now and I have a question a freind that lives acroos th street asked if I had a cigar he wanted to smoke one by the way I dont smoke cheep ones so we light up and 30 min into our smoke he says he has to go home and is going to smoke this cigar at a later time he has done this many times and also does not ever bring over any cigars to share somthing is wrong here or is it just me thanks for your thoughts. Ken

    • Henry Friday, December 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

      Yes, he's a cigar mocher. If you still want a cigar buddy give him the cheap ones.

  11. miket156 Monday, April 11, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    First, you should realize that you made one long sentence. Try punctuation and separate sentences, your question would be easier to understand.

    Second, your "friend" is not a friend, he's a mooch. If he wants to smoke, tell him to bring his own cigars. Anyway, if you only buy "good' cigars, it takes longer than 30 minutes to smoke it. Find other people to smoke with.

    Mike T.

  12. Daniel Blom Hansen Friday, September 14, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    At my local cigar shop, the owner suggested leaving the band on and gripping the cigar by the band. This prevents the acid from your skin to affect the wrapper, which can otherwise cause a change for the worse with regard to the taste and/or aroma of the cigar.

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