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Determining Whether to Keep the Bands on a Cigar

The band of a cigar is often a topic of debate when it comes to proper etiquette. The etiquette of cigars has many different ideas, and ultimately, the decision about whether to remove the cigar band or keep it on is a personal choice. Understanding the arguments for both sides will help in determining the best choice for the situation or personal preference.

Origin of Removing the Band

Removing the band from a cigar originates in England. Since cigars were popular for both the upper and lower classes of English society, certain etiquette became a common factor in determining if an individual was a gentleman or not.

In England, proper etiquette during the 1800s dictated that a gentleman removed the band from the cigar before smoking it. Although the band was removed, etiquette also allowed a man to turn the cigar so that others could see the brand before removal if it was appropriate for impressing others.

The removal of a band started in England where manners were developed to differentiate the upper classes of society from the lower classes. Although many ideas have shifted over the years, the etiquette related to removing the band from the cigar is still a topic of debate.

Modern Ideas

In modern society, the removal of the band is a personal decision that is based on preferences. Although many cigar smokers will still remove the band, it is not a sign of poor etiquette to leave the band on the cigar.

The reason many decide to remove the band varies based on the individual. In some cases, the band is removed to prevent damage to the wrapper while smoking the cigar. Others decide to remove the band because of the belief that naïve and inexperienced cigar smokers leave the band on. Regardless of the situation, it is a personal decision. In some cases, the band is left on until the adhesive softens after lighting the cigar and is then removed. By waiting until a short time after lighting, it is easier to remove the band without ripping the wrapper on a cigar.

While the decision is a personal choice, it is still considered polite to remove the band in England. The reason is to prevent others from feeling inferior while smoking in a group.

Popular Ideas About the Origins of Cigar Bands

Just as the etiquette regarding the bands is often debated, the origin of the band is also a topic of debate. Although there are many arguments and ideas, three stories are the most common.

One belief about the origin of the band is related to Queen Catherine the Great. The idea was that she had her cigars wrapped in silk to protect her hands while smoking. In an effort to emulate the queen, others started wrapping their cigars, and the bands became popular.

Another story relates to the white gloves that were popular in England for many years. The idea was that the gloves would end up stained, so the bands were put on the cigars to protect the gloves. Although the idea is popular, it is not a likely reason the bands were developed because the gloves were removed while smoking, and most individuals do not hold the band while smoking.

The final idea is related to counterfeiting. Since cigars were popular, many counterfeits suggesting they came from Cuba were made and sold to the public. To combat the counterfeits, bands were placed on the cigars with the signature of Gustave Bock to show that it was legitimate. After that first band was used by one company, others followed the trend, and bands became a regular part of cigars.

The band is a part of the cigar that identifies the brand. Although it plays an important role in the prevention of counterfeiting, it is not necessary to keep the band on a cigar while smoking.