Cigar smoking existed back in the days when Columbus first came to America. Native Americans used to wrap tobacco in maize leaves to smoke it. Information from the 1700’s reveals that most cigars were purchased from Cuba and the West Indies. The first cigar factory to open in the U.S. was in Connecticut in 1810. During the 1800’s and 1900’s, most cigars in the U.S. were manufactured locally.
Around the time of World War I, the popularity of cigar smoking declined because more and more people were picking up cigarette smoking. Tobacco used to manufacture cigars is different from that used for cigarettes, though. Tobacco used in cigars for filler and binding is mainly air-cured tobacco. It’s aged and put through a fermentation process that can last for several months. This process gives the flavor and aroma to the cigar. Cigarette tobacco is usually flue-cured.
In the U.S., small cigars are straight and weigh about 1.3 to 2.8 grams. Larger cigars can vary quite a bit in size and shape. Cigar consumption had been down since the Great Depression, but started increasing again around 1963. This is when the surgeon general started warning about cigarette smoking’s effect on health. In 1969, television and radio advertisements for cigarettes were banned. By the mid 1970’s so was cigar advertising. Sales of both cigarettes and cigars declined. The Trend since 1993 has been an increase in the demand for cigars, especially the larger sizes.
Cutting a Cigar
Before you light up, you need to cut the cigar. You cut the closed end that you will put into your mouth. Cut the cigar right before you are going to smoke it. You can make a straight cut with a guillotine cutter. You can also just use a sharp knife. Cut about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch. Be sure not to cut into the body of the cigar. It will unravel and waste a perfectly good cigar.
Lighting a Cigar
To light the cigar, use a butane lighter or a wooden match. Hold the cigar in your mouth and touch the other end with the flame. Rotate the cigar as you puff on it. Do this until the end is glowing and smoke is visible.
Enjoying a Cigar
To truly enjoy smoking a cigar, do it slowly. Draw about one puff per minute. If you do more than that, it can kill the taste of the cigar. Allow yourself about an hour to smoke and enjoy a cigar (for a large cigar, you may need a bit longer). It is best not to inhale cigar smoke. It is a bit too alkaline and may make you cough. You can enjoy the flavor and aroma without inhaling. Many people find relaxing in a comfortable chair, with their favorite drink, right after dinner, to enjoy a cigar is the best time to do it.
Blowing smoke rings is a learned skill. Most smokers claim it is simply a matter of practice. Draw in a puff of smoke, and hold it. Open your mouth into an O shape. Move your tongue back and gently push the smoke out of your mouth. No need to blow. It is a very gentle motion.
When the cigar starts getting hot and the smoke starts leaving an aftertaste in your mouth, it is time to put it out. You can simply let a cigar go out by itself in an ashtray or you can put it out like a cigarette. It is best to throw it into the garbage shortly after it is out. Otherwise, it can leave an annoying odor in the room.