How To Puff a Cigar: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

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Smoking a cigarette is easy, but smoking a cigar is an entirely different experience.

It will not matter if you are a new or an avid cigar smoker. It is crucial to learn how to puff a cigar properly.

For those who are to have this experience for the first time, you must make yourself aware of the set of rules and etiquette that come with it.

As cigars are pretty popular among people with good taste, not knowing the dos and don’ts can make you look like someone with poor taste.

So, to get you started, we have prepared a step-by-step guide to give you the best cigar experience.

How To Puff a Cigar Properly With Class

Any cigar session should be more comfortable than intimidating.

Let us help you get accustomed to the whole process of smoking a cigar.

Step #1: Pick Your Cigar

Like wine, cigars come in different sizes, forms, and tastes.

Some are mild, but some are too strong that they can be overwhelming, especially for beginners.

Cigars can come from different places globally, and getting recommendations from friends as to what is good can be helpful.

Getting premium quality cigars is vital to giving you an excellent experience.

Always look out for and stay away from those with mold, spots, blemishes, holes, soft spots, tears, dull color, ridges, hardness, and irregular shapes.

These may indicate a problem with quality and the process it was rolled.

When purchasing your cigar, ask the vendor about their storage to determine its handling.

Step #2: Cut the Cigar

Every cigar is wrapped with a leaf wrapper to keep its contents intact and fresh.

Before smoking a cigar, you must cut the cap depending on the type of cigar and, of course, your preference.

It is imperative that you cut your cigar properly, as doing it wrong can cause its wrapper to fall apart while you smoke.

A tip would be to cut just below the seams at the head’s tip to make sure you keep the cigar intact.

Step #3: Make Your First Draw

This is a common habit for many cigar smokers.

Making their first draw with an unlit cigar gives them the feel of what they enjoy later.

They also get an idea of how to draw correctly after lighting it.

This has also been a custom for some as they like to savor the notes and aromas of a raw cigar.

puffing cigar

Step #4: Light the Cigar

Unlike cigarettes, cigars can be affected by the method used to light them.

It is not recommended to light it with candles, fluid-fueled lighters, or matches.

If you have no choice but to light it with wooden matches, you must make sure you let the sulfur burn completely before lighting the cigar.

A good note to consider is to go for longer matches since cigars take a while before getting a good burn.

Torch lighters are recommended for people who want no frills.

The first step to lighting a cigar would be by toasting its foot.

This can be done by heating it with the flame from a distance.

Once you finish covering the cigar’s ends, you can then ignite its filler and start drawing as you make a puff to create a flame.

As soon as the cigar’s foot starts to burn, you can then blow on it to even it out while rotating the entire cigar.

Step #5: Practice Proper Drawing

Smoking cigars is very different from cigarettes.

Cigars are not designed to be inhaled straight into a person’s lungs.

Doing so may cause discomfort and can even induce coughing.

Not knowing how to puff a cigar can pose harm to one’s health.

The trick to getting it right is by drawing air into your mouth while your tongue takes charge of creating pressure, just like the action you do when blowing a kiss or sucking on a straw.

The smoke is designed to circulate in your mouth, touching the palate to give you a distinct flavor.

Once you get the feel from a short puff, you then blow the smoke out of your mouth.

Cigars need to be allowed certain moments for rest to avoid burning too much.

Some recommend giving it at least 30 seconds to a minute rest before sipping on it again.

You can expect to finish one cigar in a span of 40 to 60 minutes at this rate.

How To Retrohale

This is a common habit for cigar enthusiasts.

Retrohaling is done to enhance the flavor and intensify the pleasure from the experience.

It maximizes the aromatic receptors in a person’s nasal passage, thereby giving the pleasure of both the taste and smell of a fine cigar.

It is a technique that entails drawing the smoke and pushing it up the sinuses and eventually exhaling it out the nose.

Beginners may have a hard time doing this, but this technique can be pretty easy with an ample series of practices.

The Right Technique

You can start learning by taking a puff on your cigar, letting the smoke into your mouth.

Exhale some of the smoke out and allow it to reach the back of your throat.

From there, use the air from your lungs to push the remaining smoke up into your nasal passage.

Release it subtly and slowly as you breathe out of your nose.

If you plan to practice this technique, try going for mild cigars to not be too overwhelming for you.


The key to enjoying premium cigars is knowing how to puff it right.

No matter how good a cigar is, not knowing how to savor it can make it futile.

As you learn how to smoke cigars, take on the challenge to try the retro haling technique for another level of experience.

As to when to stop smoking, this will depend on your tolerance, preference, and etiquette.

As a cigar smoker, you should also know how to put out your cigar correctly.

Ensure to leave it out cold and finished before disposing of the nub to avoid any form of a safety hazard.

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