Cigars 101

Inhaling cigars: right, wrong, good, or bad?

Inhaling cigars do you or don’t you?

People inhale cigarettes, so why not cigars? When it comes to inhaling cigars, there’s no specific rule, and the fact is, a number of cigar smokers do inhale as well as retrohale. In the latter case, you puff on your cigar and blow the smoke out your nose. In some cases, retrohaling results in a very peppery, nose-bending, eye-opening experience. On the other hand, it can help you discover flavors that you may not taste by simply puffing and expelling the smoke. As for inhaling cigar smoke, that’s another story.

Inhaling Cigars
I don’t know when it became official that you’re not supposed to inhale cigars. There’s certainly no law preventing you from doing so. It’s most likely one of those things that arose from common sense.

The reason cigarettes are easy to inhale is that the chemical additives in cigarettes lower the temperature of the smoke, allowing you to inhale without too much discomfort. Premium handmade cigars are an all natural tobacco product and generally a lot bigger than your average ciggy. Consequently, even in mild cigars, the smoke tends to be hotter, thicker, and if inhaled quickly, can possibly damage your lungs. For the new cigar smoker, inhaling can provoke a coughing fit of Richter scale proportions.

Moreover, cigarette smokers who have either switched to cigars or smoke both have a natural tendency to inhale. A fellow I met many years ago would, in the course of a day, smoke a pack of Marlboro Red and inhale several full-bodied cigars. It just didn’t bother him. He must’ve had lungs of steel, an incredibly high tolerance to nicotine, or had no fear of ever getting lung cancer. One of the other interesting facts about tobacco is that cigarette smoke tends to absorb better in the lungs than the mouth because it is more acidic, whereas cigar and pipe smoke absorbs better through the membranes in the mouth because it is more alkaline.

Traditionally speaking, inhaling is not recommended or necessary for enjoying premium cigars. If you think inhaling a cigar will provide the nicotine you crave, tobacco facts show that cigars, particularly full-bodied cigars which have more ligero tobacco, will supply plenty of it without inhaling. Other facts about tobacco show that the nicotine content of well-fermented and aged cigar tobacco is much lower on average than cigarettes. The longer the tobaccos age, the more nicotine is dissipated, which is another reason cigar smoke is better absorbed by the palate.

Retrohaling
Retrohaling* is the process of expelling smoke so that it passes through the nasal cavity and past the olfactory receptors on its way out of your body. To call it “exhaling” or “blowing” smoke out through the nose is misleading because cigarette smokers also exhale smoke through the nose.

Though the hard-core inhalers reading this post may disagree, if you want to fully enjoy a good cigar, gently pull the smoke into your mouth, let your palate pick-up the nuances of flavor, and leisurely blow the smoke out of your mouth and/or nose (see retrohaling above). If you need an extra shot of nicotine try retrohaling more often.

Let’s not forget that one of the precepts of smoking cigars is to relax and de-stress as you savor the flavors and aromas of your cigar. So, try to resist inhaling. Better yet, don’t inhale at all. You may find that you have a better appreciation for your cigars, and will enjoy them more as well.

20
Leave a Reply

avatar
19 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
TboneAngela Waterford Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Bradley Taylor
Guest
Bradley Taylor

Good article.

Max Jackson
Guest
Max Jackson

Outstanding

Phil Di Tommaso
Guest
Phil Di Tommaso

Well Done!

Darryl Butler
Guest
Darryl Butler

Exactly what I have been teaching the new Comer, you should post this article twice a month.

Jorge Arturo Mejia
Guest
Jorge Arturo Mejia

Learned the hard way.

Richard Cenci
Guest
Richard Cenci

I love my cigars but I don’t inhale and I smoke outdoors weather permitting.

Aaron Jake
Guest
Aaron Jake

I’ve tried both but I prefer to inhale personally…

Yaz Katia Fernandez
Guest
Yaz Katia Fernandez

what happens if i want to inhale a cigar?

Tbone
Guest
Tbone

Then ur gay

Картмазова Эльмира
Guest
Картмазова Эльмира

Friends recommend trying an excellent tool with which you can quickly quit.
This tool helped me a lot, I recommend to read more:
http://bit.ly/sm000kes

Cynthia M. Davis
Guest
Cynthia M. Davis

I enjoy a premium cigar on special occasions. I used to enjoy one every day. I never inhaled and always appreciated the different ones for their individual flavors. You don’t have to inhale to enjoy a cigar.

Trudy Myers
Guest
Trudy Myers

I recently started smoking black and milds-just little beginner cigars whats a next second step?

Megan Flores
Guest
Megan Flores

For the past few years I have had difficulty working out in yard, then in 2015 it got harder and harder to breathe. After many tests, it was a CT scan that showed COPD, emphysema and scarring in my lungs. I quit smoking 8 years ago but the damage has been done. I got to a point I couldn’t catch my breath and was coughing so hard I thought the top of my head would blow off, nothing was really working to help my condition. Finally i started on COPD herbal formula i purchased from NewLife Herbal Clinic, i read… Read more »

Kenneth Kidd
Guest
Kenneth Kidd

I smoked a cigar for the first time. Now my chest is hurting really bad. Should this concern me? Should I see a doctor?

Mike Hunting
Guest
Mike Hunting

ass

Alex Tenn
Guest
Alex Tenn

Great article Gary.You kept it real.You answered a few of the questions I had.From those who find reward with a nice cigar.Thx

Paul Hubans
Guest
Paul Hubans

I really enjoyed smoking cigarettes but could never get into cigars. I’ve had the cheap ones people use to roll blunts, and the expensive premium ones people smoke to celebrate marriage, etc. None of them ever really did it for me.

Steve Nylander
Guest
Steve Nylander

You have an asterick that there is no reference for, Gary Korb.
I’ve almost have 30 years of cigars only as well. I smoke without inhaling, but blow it out my nose. You’re missing out if you don’t. Never used the term referenced here.

Anthea Yasser
Guest
Anthea Yasser

I don’t know why people say you shouldn’t inhale. It doesn’t take long to get used to inhaling cigar smoke. I have inhaled cigars since I was 14 years old – it’s the most amazing feeling ever. Don’t forget, it’s only the smoke hitting the back of your throat which gives you a cough reflex – you can hold the smoke in your lungs all day without any desire to cough. I’d bet it will take most people less than 10 puffs to learn to inhale a full-bodied cigar – take a deep draw, then inhale quickly – resisting the… Read more »

Angela Waterford
Guest

I think I might buy a tobacco supply for cigars if they can release a very peppery eye-opening experience for me. Thanks for adding that cigarettes are easy to handle so I might decide to try something new. Since cigar and pipe smoke absorbs better, I might enjoy the experience so I’m curious to try it out.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Show all Gary Korb's Articles
#nowsmoking Siboney Reserve cigar review - lonsdale - april 24 2019 Cigar Advisor Cover

#nowsmoking: Siboney Reserve Lonsdale

We’re #nowsmoking Aganorsa Leaf in this Siboney Reserve cigar review: “smooth and creamy with sweet spice and everything nice.” Is this Lonsdale your next smoke? Click to get the details delivered in under 2 minutes…

Read More
fan mail cigar questions answered part 26 cacover

Fan Mail: Your Burning Cigar Questions, Answered (Part 26)

More Fan Mail: with more readers’ cigar questions coming in, the Cigar Advisors lighten the load and answer their top 4 burning questions with a trick for cutting cigars, what your cigar’s ash color means, keeping your cigar lit and premium vs. machine made. Watch our videos now!

Read More
aj fernandez new world puro especial cigar review cacover

Cigar Review: New World Puro Especial By AJ Fernandez

Join us for a deep dive on New World Puro Especial cigars by AJ Fernandez: get the specs, tasting notes and everything else you need to know about the blend that was chosen #12 cigar of 2017 – see it now!

Read More
St. Patrick's Day 17 Whiskey and cigar pairings

2016 CA Report: 17 Top Whiskey and Cigar Pairings

Need ideas for whiskey and cigar pairings? Be ready for St. Patrick's Day - or any day -with these 17 suggestions for great cigar and liquor combinations! 
Read More