Unveiling the Benefits of Cigar Smoking

Modern American cigar smokers are a niche crowd. While the popularity of cigar smoking in the US has ebbed and flowed since its widespread emergence in the late 19th and early 20th century, there have remained connoisseurs and dedicated manufacturers that have preserved and carried on the tradition of making and enjoying cigars, continuing to the more recent resurgence of interest in boutique and artisan cigars. 

There’s a lot to keep folks interested! Now, as online cigar sales and resources have become more available to those interested, there’s more reason than ever to learn, engage, appreciate, and explore cigar smoking. At Case Elegance, we’re more than happy to help new and experienced cigar smokers learn about, protect, and better enjoy every cigar they purchase. Which is why we think it’s worth investigating the real benefits of cigar smoking in this article. 

Understanding Cigars

Perhaps the allure of cigars begins at the craft level, with the centuries-old processes of growing and curing tobacco some artisanal manufacturers maintain. Today’s premium cigars are hand-rolled, made from tobacco grown in choice regions, and follow a tradition that’s been upheld for hundreds of years. 

While cigar sizes, shapes, blends, and combinations continue to evolve, the basic construction and components remain the same. Wrapper, binder, filler. 

  • The wrapper is the outermost leaf that wraps around the cigar, holding the binder and filler in place. (It is usually the highest quality leaf, primarily chosen for its texture and flavor). 
  • The binder is used under the wrapper to hold the filler leaves together. It helps the cigar maintain its shape and aids in the combustion process. While it contributes to the flavor, its role is primarily functional.
  • The filler consists of cut, loose tobacco leaves held by the binder. These leaves comprise the main body of the cigar’s flavor and strength. Fillers can be a single type of tobacco or a blend of different tobaccos, providing complexity and depth to the cigar’s profile.

A key benefit of cigar smoking is exploring the combinations of different wrappers, binders, and fillers as well as the various shapes, blends, and sizes that can affect the smoking experience. This provides almost limitless possibilities for cigar makers and smokers to experience over a lifetime. 

As cigar smokers, we learn to appreciate the nuances of different blends. Many factors determine a cigar’s flavor: the region where the tobacco was grown, how long the tobacco was aged, the type of tobacco plant, for example. And we learn our own preferences: full-bodied over mild, spiciness over sweetness. This experimentation and exploration is one of the key benefits to smoking and learning about cigars. 

But this is the low-hanging fruit when discussing cigars and why we love them. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of smoking cigars. 


Health Considerations

We’d be remiss not to address an important part of the conversation around cigars, their benefits, and their potential drawbacks. As with drinking alcohol, there’s a level of responsibility and personal choice when it comes to how you smoke, how often, and the associated health risks.  

Even when not inhaled, cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes in terms of your exposure to nicotine and potential nicotine addiction. If you’ve ever smoked a high-nicotine content cigar, you know that you don’t need to inhale to recognize the effects of nicotine in your body! 

A second myth is that cigars are natural and, therefore, more safe than cigarettes. But the curing process of natural tobacco leaves still produces some of the same harmful chemicals associated with cigarettes.  

To enjoy the benefits of cigar smoking and mitigate the health risks, moderation and responsible consumption belong at the top of your priority list as a cigar smoker. What does that mean? Some simple steps include:

  • Monitoring your consumption and reducing how much you smoke accordingly
  • Recognizing symptoms of early nicotine addiction. 
  • Never inhaling cigar smoke. 
  • Smoking outside or in a well-vented location
  • Practicing oral hygiene to reduce the potential for cancers
  • Receiving regular checkups from you family doctor. 

Practicing responsible smoking reduces the risks and allows you to continue enjoying cigars. Perhaps one of author Jim Harrison’s truisms about responsible drinking could apply to cigar smoking: “The reason to moderate is to avoid having to quit, thus losing a pleasure that’s been with us forever.”

And if that doesn’t cut it, another by Mr. Harrison: “We don’t have much freedom in this life, and it is self-cruelty to surrender a piece of what we have because we can’t control our craving.” 

Benefits of Cigar Smoking

It’s only fair that we discuss the potential downsides of smoking first to not risk frontloading our argument with benefits, which are many. But now let’s address them—because as many of us smokers know, it’s not just the taste and experience that draws us to cigar smoking. From getting together with our friends to reducing stress to learning about cigar-making, cigars offer many avenues of enjoyment. 

While the hobby can be solitary, cigar smoking is a social activity—a benefit of its own. After all, social bonding over cigars leads to new friendships, valuable conversation, and even the potential for networking. Even if you don’t have a group of friends who smoke cigars, there are countless online forums to join where you can meet other smokers, learn about other cigars and pairings, and explore the many, many topics surrounding cigars, like cigar storage (humidors), aging techniques, cigar accessories, and more. 

Secondly, not much compares to a good cigar at the end of a long and stressful day. Cigars offer a form of stress reduction and relaxation that’s hard to beat. Even the hour or two of quiet, contemplative time alone is a natural way for you to process the day’s events, think ahead, and reduce your overall stress. Sure, there are dangers to the addictive qualities of nicotine, but studies show there are some neurological benefits

Even so, all of these benefits mentioned so far are an accessory to the activity itself. The experience of smoking a cigar is reason enough to smoke cigars: to appreciate the craftsmanship, to learn about how new blends are formed, new flavors achieved, to explore tastes and aromas and textures. If cigar smokers are a niche crowd, cigars are a nuanced product, worth time and consideration. 

The more you smoke, the better you recognize those subtleties and nuances from cigar to cigar, across blends, regions, and cigar types. All rewarding in the end. But let’s not forget that other piece to the puzzle: selecting cigars, building your collection, and choosing the various accessories to help you store, cut, and light cigars. 

Cigar Smoking Rituals

Cigar smoking is a process that starts when you research, hear about new cigars, visit tobacco shops, shop online, and read cigar reviews. This is part of the ritual. Selecting cigars to fill your humidor includes identifying and stocking favorites, aging cigars, trying new cigars, and keeping certain blends and types on hand for certain occasions or pairings. The more you get into this hobby, the more immersive it becomes. 

And once you’ve selected a cigar for the evening? There are more rituals and processes to complete that add an aesthetic quality to the smoking experience, including prepping the cigar with a cigar cutter and lighting the cigar with a torch lighter, cedar spill, or other methods of lighting cigars

Few things are more satisfying than a decisive, well-placed cut on a cigar followed by a clean and even burn that produces an effective cherry. 

The more you smoke, the more you will learn the rituals of other smokers and develop your own. You will develop preferences of cuts, lighting methods, and the types of cigars you prefer to smoke. And beyond those choices? You begin to experiment with pairings—food and drinks, both, to further enhance the smoking experience. 

Enhancing the Experience

Like eating and drinking, cigars are an olfactory and flavor experience. And just like you would pair certain foods and wines, smoking cigars invites unique pairings. And the combinations are somewhat endless.

Traditionally, many cigar smokers include an alcoholic beverage as a pairing. Wines, beers, and whiskeys are common. But there are many non-alcoholic and non-traditional drink pairings, including coffee. For pairing drinks with cigars, there are a few common strategies to take: 

  • Explore what is tried and true. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, and you may develop a solid base by trying common favorites. 
  • Try to match the intensity of the drink with the cigar. Full-bodied with full-bodied, mild with mild, etc. 
  • Consider matching flavors. Spicy with spicy, smooth with smooth, creamy with creamy. 
  • Consider contrasting flavors. A creamy stout may pair well with a spicy corojo cigar. 
  • Experiment with different times of the day, a coffee cigar after breakfast, or a brunch cigar.

Speaking of brunch, food pairings open a world of new possibilities for cigar smokers. While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend eating at the same time as you smoke (though some surely do), you can match after-meal cigars with certain dishes to better experience the tobacco blend. Is there anything better than a cigar with which to follow a steak dinner?  


Cigar Accessories

A good hobby should necessitate aesthetically pleasing gear. For cigar smoking, that’s the humidor. A humidor is an essential cigar accessory for the serious smoker, allowing them to keep their cigar collection in peak, healthy condition.

Cigar tobacco is finicky stuff. Too much or too little moisture can permanently damage or destroy a cigar. A humidor regulates the humidity of the cigar’s environment, ensuring it stays at the perfect moisture levels until you are ready to smoke it. Humidors also help prevent cigar beetles and mold.

That’s a humidor’s functionality. But the aesthetic is important, too. Humidors range from basic wooden boxes to ornately crafted pieces of art. At Case Elegance, we believe in crafting high-quality humidors at an affordable price, and our humidor selection ranges from small travel humidors to Spanish cedar glass top humidors to large electric fridgador units. If you’re looking for a good humidor, Case Elegance has an option for every smoker. 

Aside from humidors, other accessories like ashtrays, cutters, torch lighters, and travel accessories are common among smokers. 

These essentials improve the experience and can be fun to collect.  

Exploring Cigar Culture

Cigar smoking, much like fine wine tasting, has a vibrant culture surrounding it, with various clubs, communities, events, and festivals that bring smokers together. 

From local cigar clubs to online communities to cigar subscriptions, smokers can connect with others who share their love of cigars, including distributors, brands, and fellow smokers. As you meet other smokers, you will have the opportunity to discuss favorite cigars, brands, blends, and other cigar-related topics. These people can be invaluable for learning and sharing knowledge. 

Also popular among cigar smokers are events and festivals, where we can learn, try new products, meet fellow smokers, and grow our understanding of cigar culture. Cigar tasting events, cigar dinners, annual festivals, and even factory tours all expose you to more cigars, cigar makers, and other smokers. These are great experiences you should seek in your local area or even consider traveling for some.


Cigar Smoking and Business

There’s a connection when you meet a fellow cigar smoker—a common interest. In business scenarios, it’s never a bad thing to find that you have business with a fellow smoker or to use cigar smoking as a reason to network, talk, and connect. 

While the stereotype of businessmen smoking cigars has a negative connotation, connecting and networking over a cigar is a common activity, and you should add this to your list of benefits of cigar smoking.

Cigar smoking and networking are so common that you might also consider cigars as a hospitality gift to a new client or partner. And when you know your cigars, it’s your chance to shine. 

Cigar Collecting and Investment

Finally, as with wines, whiskeys, and other luxury alcoholic drinks, cigar collecting is a niche and fascinating practice for many smokers that combines the enjoyment of cigar knowledge and accessibility with the investment in building a valuable collection. 

Many cigars improve with aging, though this must be done correctly, and the right collector can manage cigars for decades, improving their value. Limited editions, rare releases, discontinued brands, and boutique brands all contribute to exclusivity and, potentially, increased cigar value.

Certain collections are not only coveted by smokers, but they also can represent a significant financial investment.  

Embracing the Pleasures of Cigar Smoking

Cigar smoking offers much more than just a puff of smoke. There’s rich history, craftsmanship, and community. Whether you are delving into the complexities of cigar flavors, building a collection, or simply enjoying the camaraderie of fellow enthusiasts at events, cigar smoking provides a unique, multi-faceted experience.

The nuanced world of cigars is ever-evolving, and as it does, so too does the appreciation for the art of cigar smoking. Whether you are an aficionado or a newcomer, the opportunities to learn, enjoy, and connect over cigars are nearly endless, and we encourage you to explore the many benefits available to cigar smokers.

Michael Slate | Author
Back to blog

5 Best Cigars For Your Taste Profile

Take The Quiz Now