Cigar 101: Spit or Swallow? We don’t judge! – By Mike Holmes

Have you ever smoked a cigar and while smoking the cigar you felt the sudden urge to Spit? The cigar tasted bitter and the saliva in your mouth built up, and when you swallowed, you started to feel queasy? If you have ever felt like this you are not alone! People are affected differently when it comes to the amount of saliva that they produce in their mouths. Some people feel the need to spit every 30 seconds while other people hardly produce any saliva while Smoking a Cigar. Neither of these scenarios are wrong and you are not a weirdo if you produce “water falls” of saliva!


Now that we have that out of the way I am going to address the next question, which is, “What is the purpose of saliva?”

Digestion and Saliva

The first purpose is being a digestive enzyme called “Salivary Amilyse” which helps you to digest your food. Secondly, saliva produces a secretion that contains the lubricating fluid called Mucin. Saliva helps you to digest your food, keep your mouth from going dry, and to maintain the overall acid balance in your mouth along with the overall oral cavity, keeping your entire mouth healthy. There are also parts of tobacco that aren’t very healthy, so saliva works to protect your immune system against the parts of tobacco that are in your mouth, to keep your body running smoothly.

Pretty cool how our mouth works, huh? The next time someone asks you “What that mouth do?” You can give them that answer!

But Why Do I Want to Spit?

Now that we know what the purpose of Saliva is, I can now address why you feel the urge to spit while smoking a cigar. The main reason is because newer cigar smokers, or people who only smoke on occasion, aren’t used to the sensations produced in the mouth while smoking, so saliva is produced in excess when the cigar sits in your mouth.

I recommend not to hold a cigar in your mouth or chew on it for long periods, while smoking, because it produces more saliva. Furthermore, when keeping the cigar in your mouth for too long it creates a nicotine and tar build up which causes a foul taste that makes you want to spit. Not all cigar smokers experience this the same. Some people still produce a normal amount of saliva and feel no urge to spit.

On the flip side, there are some cigar blends that cause dry mouth. For example, cigars made with Dominican tobacco often have Olor leaf in them. Olor is known for its dry mouth effect. To counteract this effect, blenders will often use a Dominican San Vicente tobacco in the filler. The San Vicente actually stimulates saliva production. The two tobaccos work together to bring balance to the blend.

Another Question that was posed by Boston Jimmie was, “How does different notes in a cigar such as citrus etc.. affect how wet or dry your mouth becomes?” I could not find a real scientific reason behind the question but my guess would be, it could depend on what you have eaten or are drinking while smoking a particular cigar. I’m sure it is just your mouth reacting to different flavors in a cigar, kind of like when you eat certain foods.

Spit or Swallow?

Finally, should you spit or swallow? The answer to that question is of personal preference. Sometimes swallowing the excess saliva produced while smoking a cigar can cause you to feel queasy. Other times it does not. It is a matter or personal choice, and if you’re smoking inside, you might not be able to find the proper place to spit as if you were outside smoking. I hope that I have enlightened you on this topic. Feel free to reach out on any other Cigar 101 topics and I will try to answer your question in a simple yet profound way!

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