Do Cigars Give you a Buzz?

July 19, 2022

One of the main reasons why people smoke tobacco products is the nicotine buzz, that relaxing tingling sensation you feel as your body responds to the nicotine in your favorite smoke.

But do cigars give you a buzz? It varies from person to person, but in most cases the answer is yes, and that buzz can be even more intense than it is with cigarettes, due to the larger quantities of tobacco used in cigar construction.

Combine this with the complex and carefully crafted flavor profiles of premium cigars, and it’s easy to see why smoking cigars is a popular pastime, whether you’re in it for the buzz or just for the taste.

What is a nicotine buzz?

A nicotine buzz can take different forms in different people. Nicotine is a stimulant, and normally associated with feeling relaxed, awakened and generally pleasurable.

Some people experience different physical reactions to nicotine. These may include feeling light-headed, a tingling or ‘sparkling’ sensation, and sometimes nausea if you’re not used to smoking.

In general, the nicotine buzz is considered a positive, pleasurable sensation, and is a big part of what brings aficionados back to tobacco, and especially to cigars, time and time again.

How the cigar buzz works

A cigar buzz is caused by nicotine, but what exactly is nicotine? This chemical is found in tobacco, and in trace amounts in tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and sweet peppers – all part of the nightshade family.

When you ingest nicotine, it stimulates your body, speeding up the messages between your brain and body. It also increases the release of dopamine and noradrenaline, two pleasure chemicals.

Unlike cigarettes, you don’t ingest nicotine from cigar smoke by inhaling it. Instead, you absorb the nicotine via your palate in your mouth. You can also breathe the smoke out through your mouth and back in through your nose to intensify the experience – this is the ‘retrohale’ you will see mentioned in cigar reviews.

If you smoke regularly, you will build up a tolerance to nicotine, leading to a mellower buzz. Again, this makes cigars an ideal option, as they are generally smoked slowly for a buzz that lasts several hours, rather than the ‘quick hit’ of a cigarette.

How to hold your cigar

For the best smoking experience overall, make sure you know how to hold a cigar correctly. For example, you should always support your cigar with your hand – never just your mouth – and avoid biting or chewing on the end.

By following the basics of how to hold a cigar, you can avoid damaging the structure of a premium handmade cigar, so you get an even, steady draw with a consistent buzz.

Try different sizes of cigars (called ‘vitolas’) and find the thickness (or ‘ring gauge’) that feels most comfortable to you – just remember this might affect the total buzz you feel, as thicker cigars deliver a bigger buzz.

Different cigar, different buzz?

Cigar reviews will often refer to the flavor and body of the cigar, but ‘full body’ doesn’t necessarily mean more nicotine strength. In fact a premium cigar can be both ‘strong’ in terms of nicotine content, and ‘mellow’ in terms of body.

An easier way to predict the different buzz of different cigars is to look at the size. More tobacco means more nicotine, so multiply the length by the ring gauge for the total volume of tobacco in the stick.

If you want a bigger buzz, go for a thicker ring size, which exposes more tobacco to your palate all at once. For a milder buzz that lasts longer, choose a slimmer but longer cigar and keep smoking it to the end.

How long does a cigar buzz last?

Once you smoke your cigar, your body will start to process the nicotine, which is first converted into cotinine and then fully broken down.

Nicotine – which gives you the buzz – has a half-life of about two hours. That means after two hours, the amount still in your blood will drop by about 50%. Another two hours and it will halve again, and so on.

Cotinine has a much longer half-life, around 16 hours, but it’s not responsible for the ‘cigar buzz’ so once you metabolize the nicotine, your buzz should fade.

It’s worth remembering that cigars are much higher in nicotine than cigarettes and most other tobacco products – that’s why for some people, a cigar buzz hits fast and can last quite a long time. It all depends on the cigar, and on your metabolism. Top


2 responses to “Do Cigars Give you a Buzz?”

  1. Brian Andrews says:

    Very interesting blog post, now I understand why I feel lightheaded and more energetic after smoking a cigar — and yes, I do inhale unlike Bill Clinton!

  2. Keith ford says:

    Nicotine buzz from a great cigar and football in the man cave know that’s great- and yes inhale

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