A Guide To Lighting Your Cigar
Written by James Payne

Friday, 30 January 2009

User Rating: / 3

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Cigarette Lighters and Butane

As the old saying goes, now you are cooking with fire. Butane lighters, unlike their heathen brethren the lighter fluid guzzlers, are probably the best bet with lighting up a cigar. Butane is a light, smell free gas that enables you to light your cigar without jumping through hoops.

Butane lighters come in many shapes and sizes. You can purchase them practically everywhere, and there are also refillable models. On the techy side of things, you can even find butane lighters that offer uniquely colored flames, or look like some sort of welding torch. In addition are the butane lighters that work like an old stove, where the eye heats up into a red, angry looking circle. Each of these “tech” lighters will do just fine on your cigar, so long as you keep certain things in mind. With the stove-top lighter, just be sure to move the “eye” around enough so it lights the whole area of tobacco. With the “torch” lighter, be sure not to hold it too long near your cigar, as it burns hotter than traditional lighters, and could potentially catch your cigar on fire. A definite no-no!



Finding a Good Match

Just as there are two types of cigarette lighters, so too are there two types of matches. And also like the lighter, one match is good, one is bad. Can you guess which is which?

The Paper Match

Paper matches are made with sulfur heads. If you have ever visited Hell or had Satan pop in for a visit (or driven through New Jersey for that matter) you will know how unpleasant this smell is. In addition to the sulfur heads, additional chemicals are added to keep the flame burning. All of this means that your cigar has the potential to take on some foul tastes, and as such, it is best to avoid paper matches altogether.

You can, however, use the same lighting method with a paper match as you do with a lighter fluid lighter. Light the match, wait a few seconds, and then hold the flame about a quarter of an inch away from the cigar, puffing in every second or so to stoke the flame.

This method isn’t really the best route. If you have ever tried to light anything with a paper match, such as a candle, you will know it usually takes several matches (if not the whole book) to accomplish this feat. Now imagine trying the same thing with a cigar, which take a considerable amount more heat to light up. You get the idea.





0 # James Payne 2009-01-28 09:11
Hi and welcome back. In this article we discuss the methods - and tools - used to light your cigar. It truly does make a difference. Have a favorite lighter? Share it with us!

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+2 # Bic?pipesandgop 2009-01-29 14:20
Just sort of wondering since you talk so lowly of the guy using a Bic lighter to light the cigar he's bragging about, then tout the advantages of a butane lighter... why do that when Bic's use butane fuel? Who knows, maybe the guy's just more into looking at his cigar than his lighter?
Bic's do burn reasonably clean, and do burn butane. The lighter pictured on page 2 at the end of the cigarette lighter section however is a type notorious for an incredibly foul smell, even if you just hold down the button to let the gas out.
Granted a Bic may not be part of the 'puff lifestyle', but it's clean burning, it is the butane you brag so much about in the article and that is the widely accepted medium for lighting a cigar when one opts out from using a wood match, and most importantly, although it might not be stylish, it gets the job done.

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0 # Slips!Mikael Taylor 2009-01-30 19:49
You forgot to mention cedar slips, my man! Not the most practical of things when out and about, but if you keep a stash at the house, I've come to find(since my whole Lighting Questions post over at the forums) that it really tastes very pleasant, and tends to lend a bit to the romantic qualities of sitting alone outside, watching the night sky, and smoking your favorite cigar.

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0 # Cliff 2009-01-30 21:16
I have become a fan of using matches to light a cedar spill. A cedar spill is a long, thin piece of Spanish cedar, usually from a cigar box divider, that is considered a preferred lighting method. A spill imparts a nice little cedar flavor to the cigar, and is an elegant way of lighting a smoke.

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+1 # Tom Del Conte 2009-01-31 06:54
Good Article, just wanted to add a little clarification. The article said that butane lighters are not allowed on flights. That is partially correct. Torch type lighters such as the Blazer or Colibri models are in fact banned as carry on and not allowed through the checkpoint. Bic and Zippo types are. This rule changed about a year ago. Lighters are not allowed in check baggage unless they are packaged in a specially approved DOT (Department of Transportation) container that can be obtained in smoke shops and on line. The container is made of a plastic or PVC type of material and has a screw type lid to it making it relatively air tight. It looks similar to the device that swimmers use to put cash or ID or keys in that is water tight to protect those items when at the pool or beach. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain. So, to summarize, Bic type butane or Zippo type are OK as carry on, Torch types are prohibited. In checked baggage all lighters are prohibited unless properly contained in a DOT approved container. Hope this helps. Tom D. a cigar smoking TSA officer.

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0 # St.Pat68 2014-03-13 09:59
I am glad that I read this, I would hate to lose a good torch lighter. I realize this post is 5 years old now but if you have any new information on TSA regulations and smoking let me know. Tom, I met a fellow in my small town who has a son-in-law that works for the TSA. He sends the guy premo cigars all of the time, I believe a lot of them go to waste. Sniff, sniff. :sad:

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0 # Christopher R 2009-01-31 08:53
Great article. I use wooden matches at home and in the car. When out and about on foot however, I find a cheap Bic to be better than nothing. I too thought that the Bics burned butane.

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+2 # James Payne 2009-02-09 11:55
Hey Guys,

Thanks for joining the discussion. I guess I did come off as a bit of an anti-Bic snob...and I definetly do like the look of certain lighters! Don't get me wrong, if all I have is a Bic, I won't turn it down. I recently tried a spill (after I wrote this article unfortunately) and enoyed it. A shame I hadn't tried it prior, as it would have been a nice thing to include.

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