Do You Inhale Cigars? What Happens If You Inhale Cigar Smoke?

The ideal way of smoking a cigar is by not inhaling the cigar smoke directly but by retro inhale (inhaling). The retro inhale method consists of pulling the cigar smoke into your mouth and exhaling it throughout the nose.

Inhaling the smoke is a common misconception among novice cigar smokers or experienced cigarette smokers. But can you inhale cigars? Yes, you can. But you should not. Cigars are meant to be enjoyed for their taste and aroma, not to deliver nicotine to your body.

Why Don’t You Inhale Cigars?

You do not inhale cigar smoke because it is much stronger than cigarette smoke. A single cigarette contains about 1 gram of tobacco, while a cigar contains up to 15 grams. This means that a cigarette contains about 8 milligrams of nicotine, while a cigar contains up to 200 milligrams.

Cigarettes contain added chemicals and additives that ensure that cigarettes burn at a lower temperature and that the smoke can be inhaled without discomfort.

Without any additives, cigar smoke is much stronger than cigarette smoke. Handmade premium cigars are made exclusively from natural tobacco leaves. 

hands making a cigar

Because of the nicotine content and the natural burning process, cigar smoke is thicker and hotter and usually causes discomfort in the lungs when inhaled. If novice cigar smokers inhale cigars, it can trigger a coughing fit. Inhaling cigar smoke can cause nausea. In this cigar guide, you will find all the reasons why you should not inhale and how to smoke your cigar so you can make the most of it.

What is Retro Inhale?

Retro inhale means to blow smoke through your nose. Very often, “retro hale” is shortened to “retrohale.” This is the same thing.

The process of retrohaling is technically mixing taste and smell. While the basic dimensions of taste (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami) are in play, the sense of smell introduces a new perception component. This is when the scent or aroma of what you are consuming enters the nasal cavity through the palate rather than you are smelling something directly with your nose.

How to Retro Inhale a Cigar?

Retro inhaling delivers a more comprehensive experience of your senses. When you push the cigar smoke from your palate out through the nasal cavity, you expose your olfactory senses to an entirely new level of perception. This is how to enjoy the cigar to the fullest. 

Only the most experienced aficionados can retro inhale the whole portion of smoke pulled out of their cigar. If you are a beginner, you shouldn’t push all the smoke you draw from the cigar through your nose. 

You can burn your olfactory senses. The safest method is to push only a tiny portion at first. This will help you get better retro hale:

  1. Draw the smoke into your mouth.
  2. Close your mouth.
  3. If you are an experienced smoker, use the pressure of your lungs to push the smoke through your nose. If you are a new cigar enthusiast, blow most of the smoke through your mouth and push about 15% of the smoke through your nose. In either case, do not continue to inhale the smoke into your diaphragm. 

Retrohaling is similar to tasting cigars. It is highly subjective. Different aficionados perceive different aromas and tastes from the same cigar.

You do not have to retro inhale with every puff. Retrohale as often as you enjoy it. We hope you will never have to ask again, “Do you inhale cigars?”.


What happens if you inhale a cigar?

You get far more nicotine than from inhaling cigarette smoke. Inhaling cigar smoke can trigger a coughing fit or make you nauseous.

How to not inhale a cigar?

When you draw the smoke into your mouth, close your larynx and enjoy savoring the smoke to your palate.

Why do you inhale cigarettes but not cigars?

Cigars contain little nicotine, but many artificial additives that cause them to burn at lower temperatures. This makes cigarette smoke light and cool, so it does not cause discomfort when inhaled.

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Adelina Drandeva

Adelina Drandeva

Hello, I am Adelina, the founder and CEO of Smoking Hub and one of its authors. I have over 10 years of experience in smoking various products, including cigars, cigarillos, cigarettes, hookah, and vaping. I enjoy tobacco products for the social and relaxing experience. Cigarillos are more of a once-a-day habit, while smoking hookah and cigars are for special me-time or social occasions where the right tobacco product is paired with a meal, drink, conversation, or all of the above.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me at

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