What sort of useful information would you like to see on a cigar band/box utilizing NFC tech.

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NFC Tech for cigars is about to be rolled out in a big way over the coming years.  Scan the band/box with your phone/smartwatch and up will come a myriad of information. 

Two questions:

1. As a cigar lover, what information would you like to see in this tech? Feel free to think outside of the square. 

2. How does a company best utilise this tech to protect against counterfeits? How would you make it "foolproof"?   



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Factory details;
Box date;
Brief history of the brand/cigar.

That would be nice.

2) You can easily put tokens in the NFC and use an app to validate them.

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Factory name/date rolled

Digital token of a photo of the person who rolled it and penpal details

A cool historic fact about the region/factory it was rolled in.


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My question is how much of this information the manufacturers will want to release. Many won’t stamp dates on their boxes when that’s something even Habanos can manage (presumably they don’t want to, for the same reason most NV champagnes still don’t list disgorgement dates - they claim it will result in consumer misunderstanding; I think what they’re also worried about is moving old stock). 

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Age of filler tobacco

Age of binder tobacco

Age of wrapper tobacco

specific type of tobacco

Factory at which the cigars were rolled

On NC's I'd like to see a roll date, and, as many details about where the tobacco came from as possible

I want it all!

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I too think like others have said, to have something linking the box and the actual cigars in it.

It's a matter of time before the will be a lot of genuine (empty) boxes floating around, with fake cigars in them. 

I think there should be an online mechanism that allows a box to be labeled as "opened".

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I want photographs of the thighs they are rolled on. Then again it could be some large hairy thighs and that would suck.





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NFC tech for cigars is generally a waste of effort & money.  I don't see any real value in it.  The investment could be spent on much better things like employee salary, improvements to the fincas,  and all phases of the manufacturing process.

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NFC Tags would have two points to be associated with the cigars, a box sticker and the cigar itself via a band. It is basically a serial number that can point to whatever attributes the producer, lets say Habanos, wants to share. Some attributes they already share on the website, so one could assume those would be tagged to the cigar. As mentioned above the big item would be to associate cigar bands to a specific box, to a factory and a date. Other attributes like thigh photos may not make the cut.

My guess is that the attributes shared with the consumer will not be much more than is shared now, factory and date codes. Taken to the individual cigar band, one could expect to see "single chasing" like people chase box codes. Imagine someone going through a LCDH picking up singles to verify each and see which is the oldest! It would only help price inflation.

To reduce counterfeits you would need to provide a lot more attributes, something like a chain of custody. If it is just a box and factory code, you can fake it by putting a NFC tag with a real serial number on a fake cigar. However if the attributes don't match up to the story (and the buyer checks) it could be caught if they make the effort. The last step to reduce counterfeits would be to "take it out of circulation". So if you scan a cigar, smoke the cigar, you then report back that it was taken out of circulation. "Already smoked" is added as an attribute so if a counterfeiter reuses your cigars serial number on a fake it adds a datapoint to story that doesn't make sense in addition to the glass lidded box. 

BTW, I would be surprised if Padron doesn't do this already for Q/A in-house.  They already have a serial number on the 2nd band of the anniversary series. NFC is just a way to save yourself from typing in the code.

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They could switch the serial numbers from the 12 digit sequential number it is now to something more complicated, ie, from 000051234567 to e780897d-30a3-479b-b663-1b8cd61d980d. Not that you need NFC for that, could do it by changing the barcode to a QR code.

This would prevent guessing serial numbers, ie, at the moment you if you want a valid serial for Siglo VI you can just go to the validation website and key in random numbers until you find it. 

Seriously doubt guessing is how the fake seal producers are getting their valid numbers. Much more likely that the HSA database is compromised, either by hacking or bribery, and they can just get whatever codes they need at will. Switching to a more complex serial won't solve that problem. And even if you do solve that problem, then in the worst case all the fakers need to do is buy one legitimate box and duplicate its serial.

Would be interesting to see them put codes on the cigars themselves, perhaps printed in UV ink directly on the wrappers. Go to the validation website and you get a list of all the cigars that should be in the box. Look up a single and you can see the box it should have come from. Maybe even a option to self report a cigar as smoked.

That would prevent refilling and rebanding, although yet again, all the fakers would really need to do is copy the numbers from a legit box. Would probably cause more disruption to shenanigans going on at the retail level than to serious faking operations. Not that disrupting retailer's shenanigans isn't a worthwhile thing to do.

All that said, everything they add will get another few years ahead of the fakers and there will be a catch-up period where fakes are easier to identify. At the moment they are close to totally indistinguishable, so HSA needs to do something and fast. 

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2 hours ago, ATGroom said:

Much more likely that the HSA database is compromised,

On 1/24/2023 at 6:04 PM, ATGroom said:

Chain of custody would be another cool thing that would help with authenticity at a retail level, but it would break down as soon as you got to the secondary market.

I think it is useful to categorize the types of mechanisms/procedures that I think might be available to use:

1. Specialized packaging and/or tamper evident packaging

2. Decentralization

     a. Focusing on retailers/distributors (this would also help build individual reputations and customer loyalty)

     b. Focusing on customers and their ability to serve as sources of verification and/or at least access a database

     c. Use of a third party or some kind of open source blockchain thing

3. Centralization

    a. Require all cigars to be sold from a single retail point at a single location.  All cigars are sold from my garage or 24:24. (I think they are centralizing stuff in Dominican right now   for Dom cigars, but Idk)

3.  Improved reliability and sophistication of "serial #" and similar authentication methods similar to what is currently used....but better.

4.  Enforcement - create a reliable way to document fakes, publish all that info, bring fire and brimstone down on all who infringe. 

5. Transparency - share more info on where the cigars actually go through the chain of commerce up to point of retail sale....why not?  It's not like we can do anything with that info and Habanos wouldn't care if we did anyway.

6. Multi-Attribute verification - incorporate attributes of the cigar itself and/or which are added to the actual cigar in a way that it becomes "one" with  it (like AT's laser etching)

Are there other broad categories?

Within those categories, I'm gonna spit ball some stuff with no regard for how all it might fit together or even function in a cost effective manner. 

1. Decentralization (i.e. blockchain) in combination with the use of a third party holding house as a second source of verification. The US of Russian government would be reliable I would think...

2. Incorporate something similar to the usb random number generator used for access to corporate computers. This could be used to access the case and/or box.  They could even sell us all number generators.  Although this also seems likely to fall apart on the secondary market.

3. individually wrap or package individual cigars with tamper proof packaging and another point of verification inside the package.  May even some kind of device that is placed around the foot or head of a cigar that destroys the cigar if not removed by someone who a) can verify the cigar, and b) provides data that removes the cigar from "play" on on some kind of database.

4. Provide data on location of counterfeits and prosecute counterfeiters under the Hauge Convention for war crimes. Paint them with Red "A's" or impose an embargo on their country. Invoke stiff penalties for countries that fail to weed out counterfiets within their borders....NO CIGARS FOR YOU TIJAJAUNA! EVER!

5. Use the retailer as a continuing source/point of validation in connection with Habanos.....If one wants to use the retailer in addition to the standard verification mechanisms they can pay a nominal fee to access the retailers database or authentication mechanism.  This can be cross referenced with the Habanos system or something else.

6. Individually weigh each cigar as it enters/leaves each point where it transfers possession and log that data to be used

7. Wrap each cigar in a snowflake that can be identified using your iphone connected app and then cross reference that snowflake with a grain of sand.

8. Put a chemical in each cuban cigar that makes you gassy if you don't consume more of the chemical every day.  If you are not gassy, then you smoked a real cuban.  If your gassy, then it was fake. 

9.  ACTUALLY make sure that their current mechanisms are functioning and provide transparency and information regarding the testing and verification of those mechanisms.  Let consumer reports audit their serial number machine every 3 months and verify that the HP printer is actually printing out real #'s and not postage stamps.

10. Make the cigars so rediculously expensive that counterfits become isolated to the rich because no common person even thinks that they could afford a cuban cigar let alone believes that a Cohiba is $12.  Oh wait, they're doing that now....see, the price increase is for us folks!

Total stream of consciousness in hopes that it might spark a great idea somewhere. 


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On 1/25/2023 at 12:32 PM, Ford2112 said:

I want photographs of the thighs they are rolled on. Then again it could be some large hairy thighs and that would suck

Do you require a certificate of virginity? 🤣

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2 hours ago, PigFish said:

Screw the Big Brother shit. Roll it tight. Price it right. Box it light!

Long live ‘light fuse and get away.’

I have zero need for connected cigars. Just more weirdo collectors shit. Secret decoder ring anyone?

Anyone thinks a QR code is gonna’ make a cigar taste better or cost less, raise your hand!!!

Rant over!

ray, i am completely in board with you. 

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3 hours ago, PigFish said:

Screw the Big Brother shit. Roll it tight. Price it right. Box it light!

Long live ‘light fuse and get away.’

I have zero need for connected cigars. Just more weirdo collectors shit. Secret decoder ring anyone?

Anyone thinks a QR code is gonna’ make a cigar taste better or cost less, raise your hand!!!

Rant over!

Trust your source, should be all you need.

but I’m sure this tech will help fb flippers, that’s about it.

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I worked on a patented barcode technology for mostly track and trace/pedigree for pharmaceuticals - in order to curb counterfeits. Each "unit" contained a serialized barcode (Or in this case NFC code) meaning that out of a thousand boxes of COH Cor Especiales produced at EL for 2023 the barcode would be COCOESP-EL-2023-000, then next COCOESP-EL-2023-001 all the way to COCOESP-EL-2023-999.

When an authorized dealer scanned the barcode they would see prior scans, just like when tracking DedEx, DHL etc... you see where this box was scanned:

2023 01/19 RETAILER SCAN - Gerards Switzerland - received
2023 01/28 Purchase Scan - Gerards Switzerland - POS

If there is a duplicate Retailer scan when you scan as a purchaser or if it already has a retail purchase scan, you know the barcode on the box you are purchasing could be counterfeit. Remember, there is only one barcode or NFC code per box, all unique, that is the only box having that code. Also only authorized distributors and retailers are allowed to scan as authorized distributors and retailers.

So if a counterfeiter has produced a fake box having a duplicate bar code, or if the barcode is not a valid barcode, say COCOESP-EL-2026-0AZ, any point in the distribution chain where this box was "inserted" would show an invalid product on scan.

The reason why this was developed by us:

1.) Pharmas lose a lot of money on counterfeits
2.) There is a danger to the consumer taking potentially non functioning or bathroom lab medicines that aren't doing the job to properly medicate the patient.
Also if need be,
3.) to recall a bad lot of legitimate medicines, the pharmas would know where every drug is currently located in the supply chain. They could report on the bad lot and see which distributors, consumers etc... currently have the bad medicine in their possession.

Do cigars need this level of scrutiny? Probably not, but see point #1 above.

Is it big brother? In a lot of ways yes. But the retailer could scan at point of sale instead of the consumer using their phone in order to close the sale of the box without the consumer having to give up their personal data as the buyer. The consumer could see the track and trace pedigree.

There are pros and cons, the most obvious pro being the consumer knows they are buying authentic.


What do I want in the NFC? The same stuff stamped on the bottom of the box. What more does anyone need?

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On 1/24/2023 at 6:58 PM, TBird55 said:

Too much info for me, just give me  a good cigar at a reasonable price.

YES! I want nothing that COULD possibly raise prices any further. Most everyone here knows of legit vendors. No need for any extras. Just my opinion.

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