8 Simple Rules (For Smoking In Your Car)

As of late, I’ve started to take to smoking a cigar in my car. A few observations/suggestions:

  1. Weather—I live in Michigan. In the winter you freeze, in the summer you fry. I just smoked a cigar this past week where we were having a 90 degree day. I had the driver side window rolled down approximately 2.5-3 inches and the air conditioning blasting as cold and as fast as the blowers could go. I’m looking forward to this upcoming Fall season where it’s in the upper 60’s to lower 70’s and I can enjoy the outside weather in my car. That said, even the winter is better because then I’m blasting the heat, not the A/C, hence saving on my gas usage. I guess I’m still creating wind resistance with my window open, but well worth it to enjoy a quality smoke.
  2. Windows—this part is tricky. See, you have to have your window(s) cracked to not smoke box yourself in your car. However, if you keep your backseat driver side window cracked, you risk the ash going out your front driver side window, only to come back in through your back driver side window. What I’ve found works well for me is to crack just the front windows and there’s enough air circulation to get all the smoke out. Be prepared to Windex your windshield.
  3. Clothing—I’ve learned the hard way that if you partially roll down your backseat driver side window, your suit coat delicately placed across the backseat is going to have ash on it. And, try as I might, I can’t help but get ash on my pants as well. This comes primarily from the wind whipping around a bit and flecks of ash coming off the cigar. At the end of the day, it doesn’t do any harm to the material, but it potentially leaves streaks of brushed off ash and stinks up your clothes. I tend to limit my smoking in the car to casual clothes but certainly wouldn’t limit myself to casual clothes if the mood hits for a tasty cigar.
  4. Where to ash—this is actually the most difficult part to smoking a cigar in the car, I believe. If you’re not careful, depending on your speed, you potentially run the chance of the strong 70 mile per hour wind pulling not just the ash off, but the lit cherry as well. I’ve ruined my share of quality cigars to this dilemma. If I plan ahead, I’ll try to get a wide mouth bottle of water to drink earlier in the day and then ash into the empty bottle. That’s the best thing to do. But if you fail to think ahead, be forewarned that it’s a better idea to ash out your window at slower speeds versus faster. I have found that gentle rubbing the ash against the window, coupled with the wind speed, will remove a good portion of the cigar ash, sometimes bring the lit part to a “V” shape, much like a sharpened pencil. I hate when I don’t pay attention to my smoke and the two inch ash falls into my lap.
  5. Amount of time in car—I’m fortunate that with my job, I spend approximately one hour (each way) traveling to my destination, once/twice a week. This is key to not wasting a quality smoke. If you get to your destination before you finish your cigar, your options are to stay at/near your car to finish your smoke, pitch it, or let it go out and re-light it later. The latter of the three is the least attractive option. So plan ahead as it relates to the size of the stick you pick up and the amount of time you’ll be spending in the car.
  6. Other people in the car—this cannot be over-stated: Be respectful of other people in the car. If you have someone with you, it’s best to ensure they’re a smoker too. They will be, after all, essentially smoking your cigar too, due to proximity. I’m not insinuating I buy into the “Second Hand Smoke Kills” mantra, but from a very practical sense, they’re either going to be next to you in the passenger seat, or behind you. The only time I smoke in the car I’m either alone or Jason is smoking a stogie as well. No one is bothered by my cigar.
  7. Throwing out butt—I personally have a problem with chucking my cigar out the window. Don’t get me wrong, I do it. But I have conscious of two things: Cars around me and grass fires. The first part, other cars around me, is that you just never know when you’re going to get some smoking or environmentalist Nazi (usually one and the same) who is going to feel like I’m sullying the Earth with my discarded cigar and calls me in to the police. Perhaps this is an unrealistic fear, but in this day and age, you just can’t be too careful about “those people”. Second, grass fires are a real concern during the summer time, perhaps more so depending on where you live. If it is (or has been) a dry day, I try not to pitch my cigar out the window for fear of causing a fire. If I hang on to the smoke long enough that it goes out, then I chuck it without a care. But just be aware of your surroundings before you toss it.
  8. Car Stinks—this one is just a matter of time. After 24-48 hours, the smell of stale tobacco smoke will wane, but until then, be prepared to have an unattractive smell lingering in your car. I try not to let anyone ride with me for a few days, just to ensure that the stink is gone and won’t offend the senses. Obviously, the nicer/newer your vehicle, the less inclined you are to smoke in it. But it’s still a drawback, regardless of how new/old your vehicle.

What did I miss? If you were to recommend a tip for a cigar smoker in their car, what pointers would you suggest they consider before lighting up? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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About tony

Tony is a solo practice attorney in Mid-Michigan with an emphasis on Estate Planning, Criminal Defense and Business Law. He also enjoys Davidoff cigars, Las Vegas and Bacardi rum.