How to Light a Cigar

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You have just spent a good deal of money on a flavorful, hand-rolled cigar. You might be tempted to let it sit in the humidor for show, almost like a collectible that you don’t dare touch out of fear of ruining it.

However, cigars are not like collectible guitars, cars, or anything else of the sort. Cigars are not meant to sit around forever – they are meant to be smoked, enjoyed, and talked about with other cigar aficionados.

That said, if you want to fit in with the other cigar aficionados, you’ll first need to know how to light it.

You might think that lighting a cigar is no different than lighting a cigarette, or anything else of that nature, but this is not the case.

There is a lot more to lighting a cigar than just engulfing the end in flames and hoping for the best. Therefore, we will be going through the process of how to light a cigar the right way.

How to Light a Cigar: Step by Step

Lighting a cigar is not rocket science, but that said, you do have to do it the right way, and you need to use the proper tools.

If you don’t light a cigar the right way, it can cause various problems, and they all lead to a much worse cigar smoking experience. Let’s take you on a step-by-step guide on how to light a cigar the right way.

1. Cut the Cap

The first thing is to cut the cap off of the cigar. The cap is the tapered end where you put your mouth. Keep in mind that even the best cigars can be ruined by a bad cut.

The point of cutting the cap off is to make a smooth, even, and large opening to put your mouth on and to draw through. Generally speaking, you want to cut off the majority of the cap, while leaving just a little bit behind, as this will help hold the rest of the cigar together.

There are many tools at your disposal, including single-sided cutters, double-sided cutters, a good knife, a sharp pair of scissors, and some people even use their fingernails.

However, if you are just starting, we would recommend using a double-sided cigar cutter; they are specially designed for this purpose and are by far the easiest to use.

They are sharp and they help prevent the end of the cigar from tearing. Position the cap of the cigar inside of the double-sided cutter, where it starts to flatten out; close the cutter slightly so that the blades are touching the cigar, and then, using a single, solid, hard, and fluid motion, chop the cap off. Be sure to do this in one motion to achieve the best result.

2. Choose Your Weapon

Most people will recommend using a cigar lighter, also known as a torch lighter, or a jet flame lighter to light your cigar. This is the best way to light a cigar, and it helps achieve an even burn.

That said, you can also use a normal lighter, matches, or any other flame. However, we recommend using a torch lighter; these feature a really hot flame fueled by compressed butane, and they do an amazing job at lighting cigars.

How to Light a Cigar

3. Lighting the Cigar

You might think that lighting a cigar is as easy as just lighting the end on fire, or just like lighting a cigarette, but there is a bit more to it than that.

One important thing note is that you never actually want to touch the flame of your lighter directly to the cigar.

When you go to light a cigar, the cigar should sit right atop of the flame, very close to the flame, but not touching it. If you burn a cigar directly in the flame, it will get too hot, and this can alter its flavor, and you may end up affecting the integrity of the cigar as well.

If you do put your cigar directly into the flame, don’t worry, it’s not ruined – just quickly remove it from the flame.

Just like roasting a piece of meat or a marshmallow, don’t hold the cigar steady in a single position. Instead, constantly rotate the cigar to light all parts of the foot equally (the part that gets lit is referred to as the foot).

Keep rotating the cigar until there is a red and glowing ring around the edge of the cigar.

Remember, don’t pull on the cigar before you see that the outer ring is lit. Blow on the cherry a little bit, just to get it lit, and then take the first draw.

If the cigar is not yet fully lit, go back to the previous step to get that cherry glowing red and hot, then take another draw.


That’s just about everything you need to know about lighting a cigar. Remember, the technique you use to light a cigar will help to preserve its integrity and flavor, so don’t rush the process. Good things come to those who wait and are patient!

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