Cigar 101: What’s the deal with cigar shop etiquette?

By: Mike Holmes

Here we go again with another discussion on Cigar Etiquette. My first article for Stogie Press was very popular and  has received lots of great feedback. Thank you for the support and for reading what I write!

As a continuation from my first article, I will be addressing Cigar Shop Etiquette. We have already dealt with preferences that people push on others as etiquette, now the question that I will answer is:

What is Cigar Shop Etiquette?

The answer to this question isn’t as complicated as people make it seem. Cigar Etiquette isn’t always about how you  smoke your cigars but rather your behavior while smoking a cigar. The context I am going to address, cigar etiquette, will be in a cigar shop setting. I understand that cigar etiquette varies depending on which country you may be in, but since this often comes up in discussion in the United States, I will use that as context for this article. Here are the top list of things that should not be done as a cigar smoker in a cigar shop.

Licking your cigar and getting it all slobbery before using a public cutter

Photo by Mona Eendra on Unsplash

I have seen this way too many times over the years, and is one of the most disgusting things you can do while visiting a cigar shop. The rest of us have to use that cutter if we decide not to bring our own.  We don’t want your slob to touch our cigar and get your germs.

Browsing a shop humidor and asking if they sell Cubans

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People I know who work in cigar shops get asked this question at least 20 times a day.Nothing is more annoying than asking if a shop sells Cuban Cigars. When you walk into a shop and try sounding sophisticated by asking if they sell Cubans, you are advertising yourself as a wanna be cigar smoker. It is obvious that you don’t know what you are talking about, so it’s better to not ask that question. Cigar people aren’t up-tight and cliquey, they are the nicest people you will ever meet and don’t mind educating a consumer. Please understand that your sincerity will be questioned because the type of people that ask that question are usually know-it-alls who just like to hear themselves talk. Trust me, you won’t get roasted as long as you keep it real!

Handling cigars too much before purchasing

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We have all seen someone in the humidor smelling Cigars and handling them a little too much. It’s fine to carefully pick up a cigar and look the wrapper over and see if it’s what you want. It is a bad idea to run your nose up and down the cigar and get your boogers all over the cigar. Someone else is going to purchase that cigar and it is rude to get that personal and not purchase. The key is common courtesy not to mention sanitary aspect of it.

Mashing your cigar into the Ashtray

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Cigars are not cigarettes they don’t need to be mashed into the ashtray when you are finished. Not only is it bad etiquette but mashing a cigar into the ashtray releases an extremely foul odor. People around you don’t want to smell a bad odor. When you are done smoking a cigar all you have to do is set it In the ashtray and it will go out on it’s own. Think of it like you are making love to your partner, after you’re done you both lay back down and gently drift off to sleep. It’s the same concept!

Not Cleaning up after Yourself

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Going into a cigar shop is like going over to someone’s house. It’s there for you to use and enjoy your Cigars but please remember when you are done clean up the area around you! I have seen people get up and leave their cigar on the edge of the Ashtray like they are still sitting in that spot. I have seen people accidentally drop their Ash and leave it all over the floor. I have seen people leave soda cans or beer glasses in their immediate area. I understand if it is a major cigar bar  you might leave glasses because they have bar staff, but if it is a small shop it is best to at least clean up before you leave. Have pride about where you go smoke!

Bringing Drama

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People go to cigar shops because they want to relax and have a cigar. They don’t want to think about work or other drama. If you go to a cigar lounge please keep the drama away. People don’t want to hear about how horrible your day was, or who is sleeping with who (well maybe if it’s juicy haha) my point is everyone has enough problems. We want to escape for a few hours and unwind and not have to think too deeply. We want to catch up with friends and have light conversations that don’t rack our brain too much. Keep the drama out of it.

Ignoring New People who Come to the Shop

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You shouldn’t ignore new people who come to your home shop. Nobody likes to feel like they aren’t wanted. It is good for your conversation and good for the shop as a whole to greet new people who walk in and make them feel at home. Perception is everything. I have walked into cigar shops before and instantly felt a dark, cold, cliquish mentality and even tried to engage in conversation only to be ignored. You never know who someone knows. Word of mouth travels fast and can ruin a shop! It’s best to show the same level of respect to everyone you meet.

Smoking Cigarettes in a Cigar Shop

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This topic generates many opinions and for good reason. People who light up cigarettes in a cigar shop tend to ruin the vibe of the shop. Cigars and cigarettes are completely different forms of smoking and should be regarded as such. When I go to a cigar shop I go to escape scrutiny from the outside world and to escape being subjected to cigarette smoke so the last thing I want is to go to a shop and someone is smoking cigarettes and polluting the air.

You might ask yourself, what’s the difference? The difference is, cigars are an artisan handmade product that has taken many years to become what we know as a cigar. It should be reverenced and smoked in a relaxing environment un-rushed and enjoyed in great company. Cigarettes are mass produced and laced with many harmful chemicals and are smoked purely because of addiction. The smell is completely different and people shouldn’t disrespect the cigar shop by smoking anything other than Cigars. If you aren’t a cigar smoker or you tend to smoke both, it’s best to go outside if you need to smoke a cigarette. Not trying to be mean or discriminatory but we go to cigar shops to escape cigarettes and to have our own place to be without ridicule.

Being a TV Hog!

Photo by Ann Kathrin Bopp on Unsplash

Many cigar shops have nice flat screen TVs to use while we enjoy our stogies. Sometimes we will arrive while there is nobody else around and have exclusive use of the TV. Then a little while later people will show up. It is always polite to ask if they mind watching what you are watching or if they prefer to watch something else. Many times people won’t care and allow you to watch what was on. Other times they might want to watch something else and that’s ok. It’s not always about us when we are at a shop, sometimes it’s better to compromise to avoid conflict. You never know you might just like the other program better! If not just wait until no one else is there and take back control of the TV.

Final Thoughts

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I could have approached this article from many different angles. I chose to highlight how people should act in a cigar shop. Yes there is so much more that I could say about this topic but I felt like each point was important enough to address individually to give you a better understanding of cigar etiquette and how it is more than how you smoke a cigar. I feel like behavior in a shop setting defines etiquette for the cigar smoker and makes the whole process that much more enjoyable.

About Mike Holmes

Mike Holmes

Mike Holmes has been enjoying cigars and the cigar lifestyle for 12 years. His pallet is self proclaimed as “very wide” and enjoys everything from AJ Fernandez cigars to Zino Platinum cigars. When he isn’t writing articles he works in public opinion research and enjoys shirtless selfies. Mike is a chapter leader in the Cigar Cartel. He can be found on social media at:

When not at home caring for his Grandma or at work, Mike is a regular patron at Paradise Ciagrz in Rockledge, FL or the Executive Cigar Shop and Lounge in downtown Melbourne, FL.

7 thoughts on “Cigar 101: What’s the deal with cigar shop etiquette?

  • So Timely article for me Boston Jimmy I was in my home cigar shop where I recognize the guy from high school and he seemed to be taking up a lot of conversation in there . Then he started preaching about Jesus.Well I do not deny Jesus and I have my personal relationship with God.When I’m in a cigar shop I want to be in a cigar shop and enjoy a fine cigar. If I wanted to go to church at that moment I would have went to church. Now Jesus just happened to be the topic that he went off on ,it I could have been anything with this guy but just to your point that have respect for other people who are there.
    Now about Mikey Holmes. I’m from New Jersey and just join the cartel last year when I reached out to people in the Melbourne area the Mikey welcomed me into his Circle of friend’s which I was honored to meet yourself and Fouad from Hiram and Solomon cigars.
    At that point I would have been smoking for 20 years but learnt more in 2 hours about cigars with you guys than I did in 20 years

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