How To Hold A Cigar The Proper Way

Sam H.
Sam H.

Cigar Enthusiast, Staff Writer

how to hold a cigar
Table of Contents

Smoking a cigar properly is considered an artform. From cutting it to firing up your lighter, every step is vital for the cigar smoking experience. If you’re wondering how to hold a cigar properly, you’ve come to the right place.

At Cigar Amigo, we’ve taken the time to review all the different ways to properly hold a cigar. By the time you finish reading, you can adopt your own style that feels right for you.

Without further ado, here’s how to hold a cigar properly.

What Is the Proper Way to Hold a Cigar?

the Proper Way to Hold a Cigar

Here are some of the common ways to hold a cigar properly:

Between Your Thumb and Index Finger

This is by far the most popular position for cigar smokers. Holding your cigar between your thumb and index finger gives you a respectful grip while still remaining comfortable. This method works well for thick cigars, and follows cigar etiquette standards in lounges.

Between Your Index and Middle Finger

This method is how most people smoke cigarettes, and there’s nothing wrong with smoking a cigar this way either. With this position, you still have at least two fingers open, along with your thumb. It’s extremely functional and comfortable, which is the most important thing.

However, some hardcore cigar lovers might chew you out for holding your stogie like a cigarette, but pay them no mind if this way feels comfortable for you. They should eventually respect your decision.

Using Your Thumb and Four Fingers

While this isn’t the most common way to hold a cigar, it’s still a respectful grip in terms of cigar etiquette. Moreover, it offers a cool and comfortable cigar smoking experience. For this position, hold the cigar between your thumb and the rest of your fingers (kind of like holding a flute).

That said, you can only use this method until the tobacco burns past your pinky. If you push past this point, you might burn your fingertips.

The Pincher

This technique is similar to the first method above, but slightly different. You’ll want to give the cigar a tight pinch between your thumb and index finger, this way you don’t have to wrap your finger around the cigar while you smoke. It makes it easier to ash and draw your cigar, and control how slowly it burns.

Do You Bite a Cigar?

Bite a Cigar

You should put your full attention toward how you hold your cigar in your mouth. A lot of novice cigar smokers bite and chew on the wrapper, which can ruin the burn and taste of your cigar. If you bite down too tight, you could end up with tobacco flakes in your teeth.

Instead, gently grip the cigar in your mouth using your lips. This will give you a smoother draw and better quality puff. Moreover, you’ll get more respect from a seasoned cigar smoker if you put your stogie in your mouth correctly. 

Furthermore, you shouldn’t hold your cigar in your mouth the entire time. It should only be in your mouth while you’re lighting it and smoking it of course. Use your teeth to gently grip the cigar in your mouth while lighting it.

How Do You Hold a Cigar Like a Gentleman?

Hold a Cigar Like a Gentleman

When it comes to holding cigars, you should always use a way that’s most comfortable. However, there are a few things you should know to garner respect in a premium cigar lounge. Seasoned cigar lovers try to respect the painstaking process that goes into high quality cigars, so you should do the same.

Here are some unofficial rules regarding cigar etiquette:

  • Never walk and smoke your cigar
  • Always have your own light
  • Only smoke half of your cigar
  • Light and puff your cigar with style
  • Don’t cover your cigar with saliva
  • Make sure your ashes find their way into an ashtray
  • Smoke your cigars slowly
  • Cut your cigar properly

Again, these are just the unspoken rules in the world of cigar enthusiasts. You can smoke your cigars however you want, especially if you’re at home. That said, try to respect the painstaking process that goes into making your favorite premium cigars.

Why Does My Cigar Keep Going Out?

Why Does My Cigar keep going out

Fewer things in life are more frustrating than trying to smoke a cigar that keeps going out. Not only does this affect the cigar’s draw, but can also compromise the aroma and flavor.

While a lot of the problems come from the production process, there are a few things you can do to make sure the cigar burns smoothly.

Make Sure Your Cigar Isn’t Too Wet

Make Sure Your Cigar Isn’t Too Wet

A cigar can be ruined way before you smoke it, and it usually boils down to how it was stored. If you don’t store your cigar in a humidor or a container with controlled levels of humidity, it will either get too wet or dry out.

If you’re constantly lighting your cigar, that’s usually a sign it’s too wet to enjoy. Make sure your humidor has the right levels or humidity, so your cigars can be smoked with pleasure.

Start It out Properly

Start cigar out Properly

Lighting a cigar the right way is a necessary skill if you want to make the most out of your cigars. If your cigar isn’t lit correctly, it will either burn unevenly or keep going out.

Draw Slowly and Not Too Often 

Any experienced stogie lover knows that a cigar should be smoked at a calm pace. Don’t feel like you need to constantly put it in your mouth and puff on it. Instead, take a draw from your cigar about once every minute.

Other Cigar Smoking Mistakes To Avoid

Other Cigar Smoking Mistakes To Avoid

It’s our goal here at Cigar Amigo to ensure our readers have the best stogie experience possible. Here are some common rookie mistakes to avoid so you can look more like Winston Churchill in the cigar lounge:

  • Only Smoke Real Cigars. Unfortunately, there are way too many fake cigars in circulation. Not only can this ruin your cigar experience, but it can also make you look like a rookie in lounges. Always look for a sign that you’re getting your stick from a reputable source.
  • Inhaling. If you weren’t aware by now, you aren’t supposed to inhale cigar smoke. Making this mistake will only leave you in an unpleasant coughing frenzy.
  • Using A Normal Lighter. If you get caught in a cigar lounge with a normal lighter in your grip, people will immediately know you’re a rookie. Instead, use a butane or torch lighter like a pro.
  • Not Eating Before You Smoke. Although nicotine affects people differently, most people will feel sick if they smoke on an empty stomach. Strong cigars can even make you feel dizzy and lightheaded if you smoke while hungry.
  • Ashing Too Much. Unlike cigarettes, you don’t need to ash your stogie after every puff. Moreover, long ashes are a sign that your stogie is made from fine-grade tobacco. Instead, roll the ashes gently along the ashtray to protect the end of the stick.
  • Following Trends.  While you might be under a bit of peer pressure, you don’t have to smoke the same cigars as your friends. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different brands until you find the cigars you genuinely enjoy. If you don’t know the best brands, don’t hesitate to ask around. Many seasoned smokers will be more than happy to give you a few recommendations.


With so many ways you can hold a cigar, it’s easy to find a position that suits your style. Whether you prefer to grip it with your middle finger, three fingers, left hand, right hand, or lips, the choice is yours.

There are experts there to help if you really feel like you’re struggling to get it right. A lot of the information in this post was inspired by the book “The Connoisseur’s Book of the cigar” by Zino Davidoff, which is a recommended read for any beginner cigar smoker.

As long as you understand basic cigar manners, you should be fine when visiting lounges. Try all the tips above to try and enhance your cigar experience.