Why you don’t shake a can of butane when filling your cigar lighter

Q. I was at my local cigar store the other day and bought a new cigar lighter. The counter man also offered to fill it for me and I noticed that he shook the can before inserting the needle into the lighter. Since the gas in the can in compressed, is this really a good idea?
– Norman in Rhode Island

A. You’re timing is excellent for this question, since I just read about this very subject in the “Kurt’s Corner” newsletter I get from Xikar.com. In an article titled “Don’t Shake That Can,” Kurt Van Keppel & Scott Almsberger shed the following light on this practice, which I’ve seen many other cigar smokers do, and have even been guilty of myself:

Through form of habit we often shake a can or jar of liquid to determine how much is left. While this is fine practice with a deodorant spray or air freshener it is NOT OK to shake your can of butane right before you refill your butane lighter!

Shaking the can increases the amount of propellant in the mixture that goes into the lighter tank. Anything other than fuel in the tank will cause ignition problems, including excess propellant.

I just hope the lighter you bought was a Xikar cigar lighter. 😉