Smoking cigars is increasingly becoming popular as favorite pastime. 

Also, cigars are becoming popular gifts for holidays and special occasions. But if you've never smoked one before, it's not hard to seem like a novice. There's an art to cigar smoking. Whether you're a cigar "newbie" or just want to make sure you're following cigar smoking protocol, you can get it all done by understanding cigar etiquette. Here's a quick guide with a few do's and don'ts to steer you in the right direction.

1. Know Your Cigars

The first step in proper cigar etiquette is to have an idea of the different cigar selections so you can develop a preference. Just as you have to get familiar with various wines to know what you like, you have to take time to know your cigars. Cigars come in different sizes, shapes and flavors. They can be rolled by hand- or machine-made. According to a 2017 study from the Tobacco Regulatory Science Journal, most popular flavors of cigars are fruit-based and accounted for over half of the cigars purchased in 2015. Some popular fruit flavors include melon and strawberry. The wrapping contains most of the cigar's flavor.

Size can impact the amount of time it takes to smoke your cigar. A large cigar -- a cigar that measures about 7 inches -- can take up to two hours to smoke compared to a small cigar due to its large size. Also, you want to make sure that you pay attention to how the cigar is rolled. You can check for good quality by rolling the cigar in between your fingers gently and seeing if there are any soft spots. You also want to make sure the cigar is void of lumps to enhance your smoking experience.

2. Cut It Right

Your cigar has to be cut before you can indulge in your first puff. Use a cigar clipper to cut your cigars the right way. There are a variety of cutting styles for different purposes, including the punch cutter and the v-cutter methods. Punch cutters punch a hole into the cigar and minimizes the amount of tobacco in the mouth. They are easy to use and great for cigars with mixed fillers. V-cutters create a notched hole in the cigar and are ideal for cigars with small rings for an intense experience. But the "guillotine" or straight cutter method is great for beginners because it's a straight cut that offers a less intense experience than other cutting styles.

Cut the cigar correctly by clipping the cigar's end. Make sure you cut the ends with a firm and fast motion so you can prevent tears and snags in your cigar. The smaller the cut of the cigar the stronger your experience is.

3. Do Use a Butane Lighter

Get started with a butane lighter and roll the cigar as you light it. When you see the light reach a bright orange, you can take your first puff. You can also opt for long wooden cigar matches as long as they provide long-lasting flames.

4. Don't Bother the Ring

Taking off the ring before you smoke can ruin the cigar. That's because the ring's glue can adhere to the cigar, which can cause a tear. Instead, smoke your cigar down to the ring before removing it.

5. Don't Hold the Cigar in Your Mouth

This is a cigar smoking faux pas. You end up wasting tobacco when you hold the cigar in your mouth. Instead, take one puff, then take it away from your mouth and return your hand that's holding the cigar to a resting position whenever you're in between puffs.

6. Don't Inhale

Cigars aren't cigarettes, so don't bother inhale cigar smoke. Smoking cigars is about savoring the aroma and flavors, not getting a heightened dose of nicotine. Cigars also hold more tobacco than cigarettes. In a typical cigar, you can expect about 1 to 20 grams of tobacco, compared to just one gram of tobacco in cigarettes.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're trying to get in good with a client who frequents cigar bars or you've always wanted to give cigar smoking a go, knowing what to do versus what not to do can make the process of first-time cigar smoking go smooth. By understanding a few basic cigar etiquette rules, you can enjoy a cigar smoking session without looking like you don't know what you're doing.

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