If you’ve got a friend interested in learning about cigars and seeking your advice, here are some tips for helping them start successfully. 1. Choose a 30-40 minute cigar rather than a stick that takes longer to smoke. Good choices include a Rothschild, Petit corona or possibly a robusto. 2. Select a good smoker. If you’ve got a favorite stogie that always draws smoothly, burns evenly and doesn’t get too hot, suggest it. While you don’t want to come off as a know-it-all, offering a tip about how to best cut that particular cigar might be appreciated too. 3. Suggest a medium-bodied cigar, or ask a question such as “How spicy do you like salsa – mild, medium or hot?” to gauge which stick to choose, even though the comparison is inexact. Avoid full-flavored cigars that will overpower them. Although standard practice is to suggest mild cigars to novice smokers, if there is such a thing as a mild cigar, you don’t want them trying anything bland and being bored by the stick. The Hemingway Short Story is an excellent choice for two reasons. First, at 4x48 it’s about a 30-minute smoker. Secondly, the flavor is medium and there’s not too much body. 4. Avoid Nicaraguan Puros. A nicotine kick takes a while to get used to. You don’t want them to be knocked down in the first round with a strong body shot, so to speak. Don’t play any practical jokes by offering a novice an Oliva Serie V or a Padrón 1926 Anny No. 1 at 6.7x54 while telling him he’s not a man if he doesn’t finish it! 5. Suggest the Bill Clinton rule, you know, the one about not inhaling!