How do you know if a cigar is tunneling?


Learn how to identify if a cigar is tunneling and how to prevent it from happening. Discover the causes of tunneling and expert tips to ensure an enjoyable smoking experience.

How do you know if a cigar is tunneling? | Cigar Smoking Tips


There’s nothing quite like the experience of enjoying a fine cigar. The rich aroma, the smooth draw, and the complexity of flavors make it a cherished pastime for many. However, even the most seasoned cigar aficionados can encounter issues that can affect their smoking pleasure. One such issue is tunneling.

In this article, we will explore what tunneling is, how to identify it, and most importantly, how to prevent it. Whether you’re a novice or a long-time cigar enthusiast, understanding and avoiding tunneling is crucial in ensuring a satisfying smoking experience.

Table of Contents

What is Tunneling?

Tunneling is a term used to describe an uneven burn in a cigar, where the center of the cigar burns faster than the outer wrapper. This results in a tunnel-like hole in the middle of the cigar, while the rest of the wrapper remains unburned. Tunneling can significantly impact the flavor and overall smoking experience.

Identifying Tunneling

Identifying tunneling in a cigar is relatively easy once you know what to look for. Here are some signs that can indicate your cigar is tunneling:

  • Uneven burn: If you notice that the center of the cigar is burning faster than the outer wrapper, it’s a clear sign of tunneling.
  • Visible hole: A visible hole or tunnel-like channel in the middle of the cigar is another obvious indicator of tunneling.
  • Hot and harsh smoke: Tunneling can cause the smoke to become hot and harsh, affecting the flavor and enjoyment of the cigar.

Causes of Tunneling

Tunneling can occur due to various factors, including:

  • Poor construction: Cigars with inadequate packing or construction can be more prone to tunneling.
  • Improper storage: Cigars that are stored in inconsistent humidity conditions can develop uneven burn issues, including tunneling.
  • Uneven lighting: Lighting a cigar unevenly can lead to tunneling, as the center burns faster than the outer wrapper.

Preventing Tunneling

To prevent tunneling and ensure an even burn, it’s essential to take proper care of your cigars:

  • Store cigars in a humidor: A humidor maintains a stable humidity level, preventing cigars from drying out or becoming overly moist, which can contribute to tunneling.
  • Rotate your cigars: By rotating your cigars periodically, you can prevent them from developing uneven burn issues.
  • Light your cigar evenly: Take your time when lighting your cigar, ensuring an even burn across the entire foot. Avoid charring the center excessively.

Expert Tips for Avoiding Tunneling

Here are some additional expert tips to help you avoid tunneling:

  • Inspect your cigars before smoking: Check for any visible flaws or inconsistencies in the construction of the cigar before lighting it.
  • Avoid smoking in extreme conditions: Smoking in excessively windy or humid environments can affect the burn of your cigar and potentially lead to tunneling.
  • Give your cigar time to rest: Letting your cigar rest between puffs allows the heat to distribute more evenly, reducing the risk of tunneling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is tunneling a common issue with cigars?

Tunneling can occur with cigars, but it is not a common issue if the cigars are properly constructed, stored, and smoked.

Can tunneling be fixed once it occurs?

Unfortunately, once tunneling occurs, it cannot be fixed. However, you can prevent it from happening in the first place by following proper cigar care and smoking techniques.

Does the size or shape of a cigar affect the likelihood of tunneling?

The size or shape of a cigar does not necessarily affect the likelihood of tunneling. The construction and proper care of the cigar play a more significant role in preventing tunneling.


Tunneling can be a frustrating issue for cigar enthusiasts, but with the right knowledge and care, it can be easily avoided. By understanding what tunneling is, how to identify it, and the causes behind it, you can take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening. Remember to store your cigars properly, rotate them regularly, and light them evenly to ensure an enjoyable smoking experience every time. Happy smoking!

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