How to Put Out a Cigar properly and save it for later

Chris, Chief Editor
Chris, Chief Editor

Updated Nov 20, 2023

Human experts carefully evaluate our content

How to put out a cigar correctly and extinguish it properly is to allow the cigar to rest in an ashtray and let it naturally burn out.

This is especially important for premium cigars, as snuffing a cigar will result in an unpleasant smell and is considered bad cigar-smoking etiquette.

If in a hurry, the best way to quickly put out a cigar properly is to submerge the lit end in a glass of water, but will ruin the fresh tobacco.

Relighting a saved cigar is not always recommended, especially when you see signs of spoilage, such as cracks in the wrapper, harsh taste, or a stale smell.

Put out cigar

What are the ways to extinguish a cigar?

There are several ways to extinguish a cigar, but only one proper way to put out a cigar, and all methods are listed below.

1. Resting a cigar

Allowing a cigar to rest in an ashtray and extinguish naturally is the most recommended method and the best practice when it comes to cigar etiquette.

This approach ensures that the tobacco remains intact and prevents the release of undesirable smells or flavors. Any cigar, regardless of its type, can be extinguished using this method.

When you finish smoking, just lay the cigar in an ashtray and leave it alone, giving the tobacco time to burn out harmlessly, and it only takes 5-10 minutes at max.

2. Snuffing a cigar

While the ideal method for extinguishing a cigar is to let it rest and burn out naturally, there are situations where you’re in a hurry and need to put out a cigar quickly.

In such cases, snuffing the cigar is a way to go about it. Snuffing involves pressing the lit end of the cigar into an ashtray or other surface to extinguish it quickly.

While this method is swift and efficient, it’s not suited for relighting the cigar later due to the introduction of undesirable flavors from the char.

Unlike cigarettes, a cigar is enveloped in a tobacco leaf, which is brittle and sensitive. Smashing it against an ashtray ruins its structure. To minimize the unpleasant smoke from snuffing out a cigar, first roll off the ash, tap it all out and then snuff it.

3. Dipping it in Water

If you’re in a real hurry and need to extinguish your cigar in a jiffy, dipping it in water is another viable method. This method is as straightforward as it sounds – you simply submerge the lit end of the cigar in a glass of water. The water instantly extinguishes the flame and cools the cigar down.

However, this method is also not recommended if you plan to relight the cigar later. The water makes the tobacco soggy, ruins the taste, and makes it difficult to light again.

This method is best used when you’re entirely done with the cigar and don’t need to save it for later and that is perfectly fine.

How do you save and smoke your cigar for later?

There are times when you cannot finish a premium cigar in one sitting and wish to store it for later, I’ve been there myself, enjoying an exclusive $250 Cohiba cigar. Follow the steps to preserve the cigar’s quality to enjoy it later.

1. Cut and Clean

To save a half-smoked cigar for later, begin by cutting it approximately a half-inch behind the ash line on the foot to remove any scorched portions for a fresh draw.

You can use a premium cigar cutter or a sharp knife for this purpose. After cutting, clean the cigar with a damp cloth to remove any lingering tobacco. This step is optional and not always available in a social setting.

Cutting and cleaning your half-smoked cigar this way sets the stage for an even burn when relit later and is your best bet for maintaining your cigar’s taste and quality for a short period of time.

2. Store it properly

After cutting and cleaning your half-smoked cigar, store it in a small humidor, an airtight container, or the cigar tube that came with the cigar.

Tupperware containers or vacuum-sealed bags are optimal choices for preserving the freshness of half-smoked cigars, as long as they are clean and dry before placing the cigar inside. An airtight tube can also be used for added protection.

Keep in mind to smoke the cigar within the next couple of days, as any remaining tobacco will start to spoil. You’ll want to properly store the cigar to preserve its quality and ensure a satisfying smoking experience when you relight it.

Although the taste will not be exactly the same when you relight your cigar.

Relight your cigar

Relighting a cigar that has already been lit once requires a bit of finesse to preserve its taste and quality. A good cigar lighter will be your best friend for this process.

Opt for a butane torch lighter or long cigar matches, as these provide a clean, odorless flame that won’t taint the flavor of your cigar.

To light a cigar, hold it at a 45-degree angle and bring the flame close to the foot without actually touching it. Rotate the cigar slowly in the flame to ensure an even burn.

Once the foot begins to glow, take a few gentle puffs while applying heat. Be careful not to overheat the cigar, as this can result in a bitter taste.

Once the cigar is evenly lit, let it rest for a moment to allow the heat to stabilize.

When Not to Relight a Saved Cigar?

There are times when relighting a saved cigar is not recommended.

One of the main factors is the duration of storage. While a properly stored half-smoked cigar can be saved for a few days, any longer than that and the remaining tobacco will begin to spoil.

Below are the signs to look out for that indicate the cigar should not be relit.

  • Cracks in the wrapper: This could be a sign that the cigar has dried out.
  • Harsh taste: If the cigar tastes overly bitter or harsh, it’s a clear indication that it has spoiled.
  • Stale or rancid smell: A fresh cigar has a pleasant, rich aroma. If your cigar smells stale or rancid, discard it.
  • A taste that resembles dirt or soil: This is a clear sign of a spoiled cigar. A fresh cigar should have a rich, complex flavor profile and not taste like dirt.

When and How to Ash your Cigar?

To ash a cigar, gently press or roll the ash off your cigar against an ashtray when it reaches a length of one inch or when visible cracks appear.

Chris Starkhagen MSc.

Entrepreneur and Founder of chrisstarkhagen.com

Chris writes for men about what to know and how to be a high-value man and networking with high-net-worth individuals. Chris guides readers on men’s business, men’s home office, men’s performance, men’s accessories, and the best products for men to craft a timeless style. Whether you’re already a high net-worth man seeking your next luxury watch or a young G who wants a lifestyle upgrade, Chris connects men with the resources needed to elevate life as a man.