How to Put Out a Cigar – Boveda

A cigar resting on a wooden ashtray

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. It’s true of a great party, and it’s true of a fine cigar, too. 

Ideally, that good thing comes to an end when you’ve completely finished a cigar. Having smoked it to the band (or head, depending on your preference), you can bid it a respectful goodbye. 

Learn how to cut a cigar, this Boveda graphic shows the parts of a cigar: foot, body, head, shoulder and cap
CIGAR SMOKING TIP: When the lit end of your cigar is an inch or so from the band, remove the cigar band. Burning the band can affect the taste and smell of the final third of your cigar.

But what if you need to cut your smoking time short before you reach a cigar’s final third? In this post:

  • Learn the etiquette of getting rid of a cigar that you’re done smoking.
  • Lastly, explore why the end of a cigar matters.

Do You Have to Smoke the Whole Cigar?

Boveda’s Nate Beck says it’s ok to not finish a whole stick.

“Can’t You Just Put It Out? Why Do We Care?”

It’s on fire, and you want it to not be on fire anymore, so what’s the big issue? Can’t you just smash, stomp, and flick your way toward a cigar’s end? Please don’t.

Why It’s Good Cigar Etiquette to Put Out a Cigar Properly:

  • Preserves the Flavor and Integrity of the Cigar: If you plan to salvage a cigar, correctly extinguishing it can preserve its flavor and integrity. Improperly snuffing out cigars can lead to cracked wrappers, smooshed filler, and plenty of acrid off-flavors.
  • Looks Out for Those Around You: Putting out a cigar the wrong way can cause strong, lingering odors, which everyone finds unpleasant—smokers and non-smokers. (Not to mention that discarding the stub carelessly can be a dangerous fire hazard.)
  • Respects the Craftsmanship of a Cigar: A cigar is a work of care, precision, and skill. So honor every handmade stick—from the way you store it (protected by Boveda 2-way humidity control packs in a humidor, tupperdor, or humidor bag) to how you put out a cigar.

Basically, it boils down to quality, safety, consideration, and respect—things that most cigar connoisseurs hold in high esteem.

A hand rolling premium cigars

“…after an extinguished cigar has been sitting for an extended period of time, it is not worth relighting.”

— Boveda’s Tim Swail

Cigar “Leftovers”: How to Snuff a Cigar for Later Use and When to Not Relight a Cigar

In certain purist circles, smoking a cigar twice is frowned upon. Those against the practice claim (correctly, mind you) that the second smoke sacrifices some flavor and quality.

Should you put a cigar down for several hours (or a day!) and then relight the foot? NO!!! “Most aficionados agree that after an extinguished cigar has been sitting for an extended period of time, it is not worth relighting. You will be disappointed in the smoking experience,” said Tim Swail, Executive VP of Sales, Boveda.

“As the tobacco cools, the tar hardens and the flavors get bitter, so I don’t bother. For me, it’s better to light a new stick than to re-smoke an abandoned cigar,” he explained. 

However, sometimes restarting a cigar is pragmatic. After all, wasting half of a $30 Churchill—or any type of cigar, for that matter—feels like an affront to the skilled craftspeople who made it. 

How to Extinguish a Cigar for Reuse:

  • The Light Tap: Gently tap away any excess ash on the cigar’s tip. If you’re strapped for time, this might be the only method you use for extinguishing your cigar. However, ideally, you follow with the next step.
  • The Slow Burn: Rest the cigar in an ashtray and allow it to die naturally. Starved of oxygen flow, it will stop smoldering in a few minutes. This is the gentlest, least disruptive way to put out a cigar. If you don’t have a dedicated ashtray, now’s the time to gently nudge your loved ones toward this article on the best gifts for cigar lovers!
  • The Cut: Using a sharp cutter, cut the cigar right above the burn line to remove any charred parts. If you need help with your chopping technique, read Boveda’s article on how to correctly cut a cigar.
  • The Purge: With a mouthful of fresh oxygen, slowly but forcefully blow through the unlit cigar. Purging a cigar removes any unwanted smoke residue, which leaves you with a better product to enjoy later.  

    Before relighting, purge the cigar again for good measure.

Will these steps produce something as brilliant as a brand new cigar? No, but try it and see what you think. Here are some pointers on how to light a cigar.

Distinguished Extinguishing: Putting Out a Cigar That’s Fully Finished

When you finish a smoke, resist the urge to crush the cigar’s cherry or toss out a still-lit stick. As mentioned above, manhandling the end of a cigar leads to offensive odors and potential fire hazards. 

How to Put Out a Cigar When You’re Done Smoking It:

  • The Slow Burn: Let the cigar extinguish naturally by resting its head in an ashtray.
  • The Snuffer: For the busy cigar lover, consider a snuffer. While cigar snuffers were more popular in past centuries, modern versions do exist. Essentially, they hasten the oxygen deprivation process by enclosing the ember.
Vintage Silver Plated Cigar Snuffer
A vintage cigar snuffer is a rare find in an antique store or from an online merchant. This vintage silver-plated piece features both a snuffer ash tray and cigar scissors. Antique cigar tools are a timeless gift for cigar lovers. At post time, this piece was available from Timekeepers Olive in St. Louis, Missouri.
4 hand-turned walnut cigar snuffers used to put out a cigar
A practical gift for the cigar lover. These modern hand-turned wooden cigar snuffers are crafted from Black Walnut wood in Nashville, Tennessee. Read how to use a cigar snuffer to safely put out a cigar.
  • The Bath: Inelegant as it sounds, dipping the spent cigar ember in liquid is a fast, effective, and odor-light way to put out your cigar.
  • The Follow-Through: Properly dispose of a cigar in the garbage or your compost pile. (Yes, cigars are compostable!) Wait at least 10 minutes after you think your cigar is out before disposing it, just to make sure a lingering ember doesn’t ignite your refuse.

    AND NEVER THROW A CIGAR BUTT OUT OF THE CAR WINDOW. That’s littering and it’s dangerous.
A man smashing a cigar into an ashtray

How Not to Put Out a Cigar

Lastly, here’s how not to put out a cigar. Let’s call it the “Bad Guy in an Action Movie Method.”

Everyone’s seen a movie where the badie smooshes their stogie down, either to assert their power, ruin a perfectly good desk, or try to intimidate The Terminator. Alternatively, that bad guy might flick away their lit cigar end to show that “Hey, I don’t care about rules.” Don’t be like the bad guy in an action movie. Follow the straightforward steps above to dispose of or store your cigar properly, showing respect and consideration in the process.

For more tips on cigar techniques, check out Boveda’s articles on how to light a cigar, how to buy a good humidor, how to get the most flavor out of every cigar, and much more.