Cuban Cigars and US Laws

Cuban Cigars and US Laws

For a very long time there was an ongoing trade embargo on all goods from Cuba. This meant that Cuban cigar aficionados in the U.S. couldn’t get their hands on the highly-acclaimed cigars.

The only way one would be able to smoke was if the cigars were pre-embargo. However, these were hard to come by and not to mention quite expensive. However, with minor changes in the legislation cigar connoisseurs can now get their cigars of choice with ease.

For people outside the circle of cigar enthusiasts it might be hard for them to understand what the fuss is all about, especially if the embargo didn’t affect them. For that reason let’s look at why Cuban cigars have such a huge following.

Cuba and Cigars

It is not known when tobacco was introduced to the island nation but the island grew to become a powerhouse in tobacco growth.

The area’s humidity aids in the thriving of the crop with a humidity level of 79%. The temperatures are also ideal with the area reporting an average temperature of 25 degrees centigrade or 77 Fahrenheit. The area also experiences rainfall that is favorable.

In addition to all this the soil composition is very good for the tobacco plant following its chemical composition.

Another factor that contributes to the high quality of Cuban cigars is the care that the tobacco workers take during all the steps that lead to the making of the celebrated Habanos. This care is especially important to ensure that the products are of the utmost quality.

Cigar Production

Once the tobacco leaves are taken to the factory the leaves that will be used as wrappers are usually set aside and then sprinkled with water. This is to ensure that the humidity they lost while processing is restored and to ensure that they are not fragile.

Later on the sorters go on to sort the leaves by color and size. They then come up with 18 to 20 leaves which will become the wrappers for the Habanos.

The next step is the cigar maker. He begins by placing on a table half a leaf of binder and then coming up with a wide range of different kinds of leaves which he goes on to shape as a bundle.

He then picks a wrapper, trims it to the desired size and then uses it to wrap around the bundle. The not-yet-finished cigar is then shaped carefully by hand. The flat side of a knife may also be pressed on it so as to achieve the perfect finishing.

Shaping is also done on the end of the cigar that goes in the mouth of the smoker. So as to get the desired length, the cigar is nipped at the tip using a guillotine.

Once the shape and size of the Habanos have been ensured the next step involves tying them with ribbons and then sorting them into groups of 50. They are then immunized against plagues in vacuum fumigating chambers.

Finally, they are placed for three weeks in special closets so as to remove excess humidity after which the Habano is ready to be dotted over.

Former Cuban Cigar Laws

The law in the US had been especially tough on any goods coming from Cuba, Cuban cigars included. Following the seizing of power by Fidel Castro’s communist government in Cuba the then president of the United States, John F Kennedy, imposed a trade embargo on Cuba.

The situation was especially aggravated by Castro allowing the Soviet Union to build missile bases on the island nation.

The law stated that criminal penalties were eligible for any person who violated the Cuban cigar laws. These included going to prison for up to 10 years, collecting a $1 million corporate fine, a $250,000 individual fine or $65,000 civil penalties.

New Legislation

The new laws that concern Cuban cigars were announced by President Obama in January 2015. The laws stated that for Americans on authorized travel to Cuba, they can buy goods for personal consumption in Cuba for up to $400.

However, it should be no more than $100 for any tobacco or alcohol products. However, the laws restrict buying Cuban cigars from third party countries. That has to do with the Cuban cigars and the law.


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