Where, When and How to Smoke a Cigar
OK, so you've learnt how to choose a good cigar, and you've read all about the correct way to smoke one. But knowing where and when to light one up can still be a contentious issue that's worthy of a lot of debate in its own right. This article aims to help give you an understanding of when you should smoke a cigar, and when it would be entirely inappropriate. This is closely linked with our article on Cigar Etiquette, so if you haven't already read it, I recommend you have a look when you get to the end of this article.
Where should I smoke?
Sometimes, it can be hard to know where to go to smoke your cigar. Home is an obvious choice, as you can be sure that you won’t be disturbed, or disturb others with your smoke (as long as your relatives don't mind it!). But what happens when you don't want to smoke alone? Where can you go to enjoy a cigar in a social situation?
Traditionally, you could go to a gentleman's club, where you would be able to relax with your cigar and a drink, and socialize with the other members. However, I don't know about you, but I'm not a member of a gentleman's club, and I don't know anyone else who is either! So what happens to people like me?
In most hotels, restaurants and clubs, smoking is restricted to certain areas – smoking sections, the saloon bar, and sometimes even the billiard room. In these areas it is safe to smoke, but that's about it. These days, almost all public places have become non-smoking.
It’s always nice to have a cigar after a meal, but make sure you are always aware of the people around you. Don't light up until everybody has finished eating – tobacco and food do not go together at all, and you don't want to offend your dining companions! When everybody is finished, and provided you are sitting in the smoking section of the restaurant, it is perfectly acceptable to smoke.
The hard and fast rule is smoke wherever you can, as long as by doing so you won’t cause offence to any other people. It can be difficult to find cigar-friendly establishments these days, but if you look around, you can find them.
When can I smoke?
There isn't necessarily a right or wrong time to smoke a cigar. Largely, this will come down to common sense. Zino Davidoff's directives on cigar etiquette specify that you should never smoke a cigar “while working” or “while walking”, but other than that he leaves it largely up to the discretion of the smoker. I would add that you should take note of the company you are in before you decide to just light up and puff away. Perhaps ask the people you are with if they mind you smoking – cigar smoke is dense and clingy with a strong aroma that can be difficult to remove, and asking is the polite thing to do.
Other than that, there are many times that are especially good for cigar smoking – after meals being a particularly popular choice. There's nothing quite like relaxing in a comfortable chair with a cigar and a nice stiff drink (for suggestions on specific drinks that go well with cigars, please see our article What to Drink with Cigars). A good rule of thumb is to always allow yourself at least an hour to properly appreciate the cigar. Some of the bigger cigars may require more time even than this. If you have a long stretch of free time ahead of you, and nothing else that you need to do, then is a good time to smoke a cigar!
How should I smoke a cigar in public?
According to Zino Davidoff, one of the worst offences a cigar smoker can commit is to “indulge in exhibitionism in lighting or any other aspect of smoking”. That is the important point to consider here. You are smoking the cigar because it should be a pleasurable ritual for you, not in order to impress or intimidate anybody else. Thus you should conduct your smoking discreetly, in a manner that doesn't interfere with other people, where they are fellow smokers or otherwise.
What this also means is that you should learn the correct way to smoke a cigar, rather than making up and following rituals of your own. This will allow you to smoke without drawing attention to yourself. If you would like more information on the subject of How to Smoke a Cigar, please refer to our article.
Hopefully now you have a better understanding of when it is appropriate to light up a cigar and when it is not recommended. If you haven't already done so, you should read our article on Cigar Etiquette for more information.