Aluminium tubes first appeared in the mid-1940s and were quite common by the 1950s.
Some cigar releases are available exclusively in aluminium tubes, while other releases are available either with or without tubes.
Tubes help to preserve cigars from physical damage and short-term drying out. Habanos S.A. recommends removing cigars from their tubes if storing in a humidor, although Min Ron Nee advocates leaving cigars in their tubes for improved (but slower) aging. Tubes have a thin cedar-sheet lining.
Since 2006, Habanos SA has been extending the available tube range in their major brands, using both recoloured standard tubes and a new premium style tube. Some of the minor brands are having the tubes withdrawn.
The standard tubes have a bottom screw-cap. The older style tubes generally have black text printed on the natural silver background while the newer style tubes have the same screw-cap construction but with more colourful tube colour and printing.
The new premium tubes have a twin tube construction, with a top, friction pull-apart section. They are usually printed in multiple colours.