While the vast majority of cigars come either wrapped in cellophane or naked in the box. Most manufacturers will select a few choice offerings and pack them in some sort of tube. Most tubes these days are made out of metal (aluminum mostly), glass or plastic. While technically not a tube, some cigars come in small wooden boxes called coffins. There are even a few special cigars that come packed in round wooden tubes (Davidoff.)
While the tube lends a certain level of physical protection, it does not replace a humidor for maintaining humidity. Tubes are almost never fully air tight, even the wax sealed tubes don’t prove to be air tight enough to make the tube a long-term substitute for a humidor. The the cigars inside tubes are just as apt to dry out as a non-tubed cigar (although, the tubed cigar will most likely dry out at a somewhat slower rate.
So, why do the cigar manufacturers bother with tubes at all?
Well, primarily, cigar tubes are some of the more beautiful cigar art available and are fantastic for marketing purposes.
The typical cigar tube also serves to physically protect the cigar from damage resulting from rough handling. A cigar in a tube is perfect for gift giving, sharing on the golf course or just slipping one in the breast pocket of a suit coat. The tubed cigar is the perfect type to hand out at a wedding, for the birth of a child, to celebrate the life of a recently departed dear friend or to just sit back on the porch and watch the leaves sway in the breeze.
AND, with the advent of COVID-19, the tube protects the porous cellophane, which is made from wood byproducts, not plastic, and the tobacco itself from hosting viruses and bacteria. The tubes can be wiped down and sanitized like any other smooth surface. The cigar in a tube may be the safest way to purchase a cigar during this seemingly unending pandemic. (They’ve always been a great go-to during cold and flu season for the exact same reasons.)
The cigar in a tube makes a great handout after dinner, a great stocking stuffer (although, don’t insert it into the stocking until Christmas Eve to maintain freshness) for Christmas or in a gift basket right before it’s being given.
What are the negative features of a tube? Yes, there are a few.
First, they almost always make the cigar more expensive. A tube can add a few cents to a few dollars to each cigar. That’s just the way it is — individually packaged items almost always cost more than buying bulk.
Secondly, the cigar tube leaves the smoker with an empty tube to deal with. I turn many of them into Christmas Ornaments, but I’m an exception. Every once in a while a cigar tube finds new life as a storage container, craft medium, secret cash stash in wooden doors (come in the shop and I’ll tell you how that works), airplane or submarine fuselage for a kid with imagination or something hugely creative that I haven’t thought of yet. If the tube is just thrown away, it’s served it’s purpose, but it became trash that can add to the environmental issues we are dealing with more and more each day.
Thirdly, many people think that a fancy looking tube must hold an extra special cigar. While many manufacturers will put their best foot forward with choosing which of their cigars will go into a tube, sometimes what comes out a tube is just as bad as everything else in their line and they are actually counting on the consumer to choose that manufacturer’s mediocre cigar because it’s in a colorful tube.
Finally, most people think that they can hold on to a cigar in a tube forever without a humidor. The cigar tube, like I said before, isn’t usually airtight. However, most people think it is good enough for long-term storage because they seem pretty well sealed.. It conveys a false sense of security.
The bottom line is that cigar that comes in a tube is like anything else in life. Sometimes it’s a great thing, sometimes it doesn’t matter and sometimes it’s a bad thing. If it meets