Posted by Shakil Isani on 2/1/2017 to News
It may surprise you to learn this, but there's actually a longstanding debate around whether or not smokers should remove the bands (labels) from their cigars. But why is there so much controversy over such a simple thing?
Many cigar aficionados prefer to leave the band on, for a few reasons. First off, the band is glued to the wrapper, so removing it can be dicey. The natural tobacco leaf wrapper may tear, just as any situation in which you're trying to remove a sticker from a very delicate surface. Tearing the wrapper can ruin the cigar before you even get to smoke it, so many cigar smokers leave them on for this practical reason.
Leaving the band on also provides a good place to hold the cigar and serves as a helpful "stopping point" to finish your smoke. Some smokers also consider leaving the band on as an act of respect to the brand, as others will be able to see the type of cigar you are smoking.
However, this is the exact reason some people prefer the band to be removed. In some circles, it's considered rude to "show off" your cigar brand, as it could make others around you feel inferior for smoking "lesser" cigars or not buying a more expensive brand. From this perspective, removing the band is the classy thing to do, and imparts friendliness and humility, rather than arrogance.
This argument is not likely to ever die down, so you will need to decide based on personal experience what is most comfortable for you and those around you.
If you do decide to remove the band, do it after you light the cigar and wait about five minutes for it to heat up. This weakens the glue, so hopefully it will be easier to remove. Be careful not to tear the wrapper. It's a good idea to practice band removal while smoking alone, so you don't struggle with it around others. It should be done with casual ease and expertise, just like every aspect of cigar smoking.