Lighting a cigar is an art. It is a courtship if you will.
Lighting a cigar is not like lighting a cigarette or a candle. It is process that takes a minute – but the slow process of lighting a cigar is well worth it.
For starters, you are going to want a “clean burning lighter” found at cigar shops or use a cedar spill (a small wood piece used for lighting). Cedar spills are great but often times not available.
Avoid regular matches if you can – the sulfur can sometimes pass into the cigar and affect the smoke.
Many people will “toast” the foot of the cigar before actually lighting it.
Simply passing the flame back and forth around the foot of the cigar performs the toast. The idea behind this technique is to “warm” the foot before lighting.
Once that is done, you are ready to light the cigar.
Bring the flame NEAR the end of your cigar – but do not immerse the foot of the cigar IN the flame. This is usually a rookie mistake. It will make the foot of the cigar too hot as well as burn the edges of the wrapper further up the cigars.
Keep the cigar about a ¼” away from the flame and begin to draw the cigar – all the while rotating the cigar while lighting it.
What you will then witness is what people call “jumping the flame.” It is a big burst of flame each time you pause in drawing the cigar. Keep rotating the cigar for an even burn.
Once the cigar is lit, many people will blow on the foot, just to even it out a bit.
If for some reason your cigar is not fully lit on one side, simple use the lighter to touch it up (torch style lighters can be very handy in this situation).
Lastly, there is some debate of what to do in regards to the initial puff.
Some people suggest the first puff should be an exhale through the cigar to combat any residual toxin issues in the flame. This is probably more of an issue if you are lighting with matches or re-lighting a cigar. In either case, it makes for good cigar lounge conversation.