Maybe you can remember the first time you smoked a stogie – or any nicotine product for that matter, like cigarettes, a pipe, or even a vape – and you felt that sudden headrush that you weren’t prepared for. Cigars can and often do give people a “buzz”, although even seasoned connoisseurs often fail to understand exactly why, or why sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t.
What is that Buzz Coming from?
Maybe it won’t surprise you to learn that the buzz you get from cigars is caused by nicotine, a strong chemical compound in tobacco – an alkaloid, to be more specific – that absorbs into the bloodstream almost immediately when it’s inhaled, and even creates strong effects on the central nervous system. And, like we said, you can get this from any nicotine product. However, cigars can create a stronger buzz than other nicotine products, because the nicotine dose is just generally higher.
Unsurprisingly, there are some key variables that can impact the buzz you get from a cigar – or determine whether or not you get one at all. These factors include the size of the cigar, the type of the cigar, how quickly you smoke, and whether or not you inhale – more on that in a bit here.
What Can Affect How Strong of a Buzz You Get from a Stogie?
Again, the buzz of a cigar comes from its nicotine content, as nicotine is a naturally occurring compound in tobacco. And, it’s a stimulant, so it’s going to have a pretty powerful effect on your nervous system, causing the body to release two neurotransmitters in particular: dopamine, a “feel-good” hormone, and noradrenaline, an adrenal hormone that gives a person a boost of energy, alertness, and focus. Together, these neurotransmitters can increase feelings of pleasure, relaxation, and increased energy, all at once.
But, too much nicotine can make a person feel unwell for the same reasons as above. “Cigar sickness” is a feeling of being unwell, including symptoms like dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, edginess, anxiety, and increased heart rate. When this happens, it’s important to take a break from smoking, and drink some water. Consuming sugar can also help make you feel back on track.
Like most substances that affect the nervous system, a person can develop a tolerance to these effects over time, meaning that they impact the person less and less with repeated use. This is why the first time a person smokes a cigar is when they typically get the strongest buzz, and after that point, it’s less potent. It’s also why a person is more likely to get “cigar sickness” if they’re a relative beginner, whose body is uniquely sensitive to the effects of nicotine. But, there are other factors that can make a difference, too.
The Cigar Itself Can Matter
At the end of the day, your “buzz” is directly related to how much nicotine you take in while smoking your cigar. Because of that, it’s not surprising that the bigger the cigar, the more of a buzz you’ll get, because a bigger cigar means more nicotine. A large cigar can have up to 15mg of nicotine, which is quite a lot. And, of course, the wrapper can make a difference too in terms of how thick it is. Some types of tobacco contain more nicotine than others as well, which is why you want to pay attention to the strength, which ranges from “mild” to “bold”.
Whether or Not You Inhale
We all know that you’re not supposed to inhale cigar smoke – it’s about the flavor, and letting it pass over the palate before blowing it out. But, people do inhale anyway from time to time, especially if they’re used to inhaling smoke, such as cigarette smokers who just suck that smoke into the lungs from muscle memory. Of course, inhaling cigar smoke is going to cause you to take in more nicotine than not inhaling.
Pertaining to the proper way to smoke a cigar, it is all about gentle puffs in, and blowing out the smoke instead of sucking the smoke down further. While the nicotine in smoke can be absorbed through the tissue of the mouth, this isn’t as bioavailable as absorbing it through the lung tissue, hence the effects will be milder.
How Fast You Smoke
It’s no surprise that smoking too fast can result in more of a buzz, since you’re basically giving your body a concentrated dose of nicotine as opposed to spacing it out. This is one reason why you should just make a point to smoke more slowly – the other point being that you’ll enjoy the cigar a lot more if you take your time with it. You are not supposed to really take in more than 5 puffs a minute, as it’s supposed to be a leisure activity.
How Long Will the Buzz of Smoking a Stogie Last For?
The nicotine in tobacco products has a half-life of about 2 hours, before it begins to leave the bloodstream and get metabolized. So, your buzz will last no more than 4 hours at absolute maximum – usually shorter than that. And, that’s good news if you have “cigar sickness” from the actual nicotine, as that means that within a couple hours tops, the effects will be gone.