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Relative humidity and the science behind cigar storage

  1. Oct 6, 2014 #1
    I recently got heavier into cigar smoking and want to start storing cigars at home in a humidor. Like most things that become a sort of hobby of mine, I research the hell out of my new fascination.

    So while learning about humidors, I discovered that the cigar community is split on whether or not the relative humidity the humidor is kept at should change based on temperature. Below I’ll paste two differing opinions along with the rationales:

    RH shouldn’t change with varying temps:
    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Cigars-2143/2009/9/Absolute-vs-Relative-humidity.htm [Broken]

    RH should change with varying temps:


    So, I come to the Physics Forums for the science smackdown. Who is right?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2014 #2
    "At 70% relative humidity (a measure which by definition is independent of temperature)"

    Your source in incorrect. In humid air, of the common measures of humidity, only mixing ratio and specific humidity are independent of temperature. Absolute humidity, relative humidity and vapor pressure all vary with changes in air temperature.
  4. Oct 6, 2014 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Based on the above noted error alone (and then by the apparent lack of quality of the source), I'd be skeptical of that advice. A few other notes:
    1. I'd be surprised if cell structure is intact enough to matter for dried plants.
    2. Perhaps there isn't research on this for cigars (I'd be surprised if there isn't), but there certainly is for wood and baseballs. I suggest looking into it.
    3. As yourself this: what parameters vary in the cigar as environmental conditions change? Ie: does temperature alone make a difference? If you store a cigar in a cold environment and then quickly warm it to room temperature, will it behave differently? How about if you smoke one on a cold day? For wood, what matters is the mass ratio of water in the wood, not the temperature.
  5. Oct 7, 2014 #4
    I discussed your answer and the quote you are responding to in the first article with another source and this was the reply I received:

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