Cigars 101

The Right and Wrong Way to Extinguish a Cigar

Chances are you’ve been in a cigar situation with a relative newcomer to the hobby. After counseling them on which cigar to choose, you demonstrate how to properly cut, toast, and light the cigar. With your puros underway, everything is copasetic…until the cigars are down to the nub.

All too often, the newer cigar smoker will declare his cigar finished before crushing it into the ashtray. This happens more frequently with cigarette smokers, although just about anyone could make this same mistake.

The problem with such a violent end to a cigar is really two-sided. Pragmatically speaking, when a burning cigar stub is extinguished, it releases foul-smelling odors, creating a harsh aroma that is at odds with the relaxation afforded by enjoying a fine, premium cigar.

Moreover, a good cigar deserves better than to be crushed to smithereens.

Veteran cigar smokers know that the easiest and best way to extinguish a cigar is to simply let it die a dignified death. By this, we mean the cigar smoker rests the cigar on the ashtray’s stirrup, or tosses it into the ashtray, where it will continue to smolder, eventually going out by itself.

Fire requires oxygen, and the same is true for the burning cherry of a cigar. Without oxygen to feed the fire, the cherry will eventually go out all on its own. This is the same reason why under-smoking a cigar will force the cigar smoker to relight the cigar.

Speaking of oxygen, there’s another option available for those who have a passion for cigar accessories: the cigar snuffer. Used more frequently in years gone by, these devices look a little like a candle holder: by standing the cigar inside of a snuffer with the cherry side down, the burning end is deprived of oxygen, thus snuffing out that flame naturally.

But suppose you have to extinguish a cigar quickly, and don’t have the luxury of a cigar snuffer on hand? In these situations, liquids work nicely. Dunking the end of the cigar into a container of liquid will obviously snuff it out; lacking that, if you’re outside, you could put it out in a puddle of saliva.

One word of caution: overzealous cigar smokers will sometimes throw their cigar butts when finished. This is not only littering, but presents a serious fire risk, especially during hot, dry months, when brush or tinder is likely to catch fire.

Bottom line? In order of preference, we advise you let it die, use a snuffer, or put it out using liquid. But whatever you do, don’t stub it out like a cigarette. Your nose will thank you.

Lou Tenney

Lou Tenney

When he's not busy writing, editing, smoking cigars, or raising his many, many children, Hayward " "It's Lou, not Hayward" " Tenney spends his days combating confusion about his real name (it's Hayward, but please - call him " "Lou" ") and mourning the matrimonially-induced loss of his moustache (what's he gonna do with all that moustache wax he made?).

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