Tobacconist University
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions: Cigar Shop Etiquette

Retail tobacconist stores must be rigorously maintained. Walk-in humidors must have their temperature, humidity, air quality, and sanitary standards perfectly maintained to preserve the cigars and protect the customers that smoke them. People walking in and out of retail walk-in humidors bring germs, dirt, and debris into the environment, so many steps must be followed to protect the cigars. While tobacconists are responsible for maintaining their shops, customers must also act responsibly and do their part. Below are some important rules to follow.

No Smoke In Humidor
The natural aromas of a walk-in humidor are subtle and delightful: the commingling of spanish cedar and tobacco aromas from around the world is a special treat. Part of the reason tobacconists make their walk-ins accessible to customers is so that they can enjoy the smell of unlit, aging tobaccos. So, do your part and refrain from smoking in the walk-in.

Be Careful Touching & Smelling
As we learned in a previous lesson, care must be taken when touching and smelling cigars: avoid touching he head and do not let it touch your nose.

Always treat cigars you do not own with the highest sanitary standards.
Smelling Cigars

Handle With Care
Be careful when pulling cigars out of a box as the head, foot or wrappers can easily be damaged. You might be surprised at how many cigars are ruined by careless handling; it is a significant expense to retailers. Also, remember that tobacconists spend a lot of time organizing, straightening out and facing (making sure the bands face forward) cigars. If you pull a cigar out of the box, make sure you return it to its proper position.
Touching Cigars

Damaged Cigars
Cigars can be damaged during shipping or by careless customers and/or tobacconists. Many of these are discarded or repaired and sold at a discount. Most of the damage that occurs is purely aesthetic and will not significantly effect the smoking qualities of a cigar. If you see a damaged cigar in the humidor, feel free to make an offer - a 25 percent discount might be a win-win for both you and the retailer.
Damaged Cigars

Theft Is Real
People shoplift from cigar stores everyday! Even a small retail tobacconist shop can lose thousands of dollars a year from shoplifting. It is one of the most difficult challenges faced by retail tobacconists and nearly impossible to stop without creating uncomfortable customer experiences. Do your part by not acting suspicious, not touching cigars unnecessarily and not putting your hands in and out of your pockets too much. The snapshot below shows an elderly couple stealing over seven hundred dollars worth of cigars in less that two minutes!

Returning Cigars
Most retail tobacconists will not allow returns on cigars that have been taken out of the shop for a period of time. This is because cigars are sanitary products that must be kept at proper temperature and humidity: it would be irresponsible to accept returns. But, if you purchased several of the same cigar and found one or more to be plugged (tight or no draw), you should let the retailer know: a good retailer will do what is necessary to make it right. However, if you want to return cigars simply because they did not suit your taste preferences, that is just part of the cost of educating your palate: don't expect retailers to accept returns just because you didn't like the cigars.

Public Cigar Cutter Rules
Cigar cutters touch the head of the cigar that will eventually touch your mouth, so they must be kept clean. Retail tobacconists have cutters on hand for customers to use when they buy cigars, but they must also have procedures in place to keep those cutters clean. If you are going to use a shop cutter, keep the cigar out of your mouth until you have cut the cigar. And remember that you are well within your rights to ask your tobacconist about the sanitary procedures they use to keep their cutters clean.

Cigar Lounge Etiquette

Certified R&D Tobacconists: United States

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R&D Cigar DealerR&D Cigar Dealer
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Raymond Noriega, CRTStag Tobacconist (Stag of Colorado Ltd.)
Colorado Springs, CO - United States
(719) 633-0669

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Ryan Burke, CRTTwins Smoke Shop
Londonderry, NH - United States

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Walter Gorski, CRTGeorgetown Tobacco
Washington, DC - United States
(202) 338-5100

FAQ Categories

Cigars 101

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