Cuban cigars are considered the “filet mignon” of stogies. They’re expensive, delicious, and are tough to get your hands on (if you’re American). To expand their market, Cuban cigar sellers have gone online to help sell more stogies across the world.
Cigar Amigo takes pride in being your number one source for cigar-related topics. So, we’ve taken the time to research the online Cuban cigar market. After all, it’s one of the most popular topics in the stogie community. With that, there’s a lot of hear-say about the legality and accessibility to Cuban tobacco.
The question remains: is it legal to buy Cuban cigars online? Learn everything you need to know below.
Is It Legal to Buy Cuban Cigars Online
Buying Cuban cigars online is still illegal, even with the lifts on the US trade embargo on Cuba. The ban also includes mail orders of Cuban stogies and other restricted goods from the island nation.
That said, people do purchase Cuban cigars online. Several sites offer shipping to the United States, but there’s no way to guarantee US customs won’t confiscate them. Many of these companies are based in South America where sanctions are easier to surpass. However, checking the authenticity of the stogies can be tricky.
If Cuban cigars are found, the US government will have them destroyed. The person who bought them could also be subject to a fine, but it’s not common unless you’re actually caught with the cigars.
Cuban Cigars in America
The USA and Cuba have had quite a rocky relationship over the past decades. However, it wasn’t always this way. When Spain opened their trading ports in the early 1800s, the USA was one of the country’s top trading partners.
During the prohibition, Havana was a hotspot for American tourists who wanted to indulge in the luxurious casinos and hotels the country had to offer. Cuban cigars and alcohol were top-favorites for US visitors, and were a top export until the restrictions were put in place.
Which brings us to 1959 and the Cuban revolution. Fidel Castro had overthrown the Cuban government and became prime minister. A few years later in 1962, President John F. Kennedy installed a trade embargo on Cuban products, including cigars and Cuban rum.
Can You Buy Cuban Cigars in the US?
It is illegal to buy authentic Cuban cigars in the United States. No reputable tobacco shop will have Cuban stogies for sale, so any you see on the shelves are likely fake.
Some tobacco stores might sell Cuban cigars “under the table”, but it’s heavily advised you don’t acquire them illegally. What’s more, many times these aren’t real Cuban cigars, so you’ll end up being ripped off either way.
Going to Cuba to get Cuban cigars is also extremely difficult. You need to obtain a Cuba tourist card along with several other requirements. Your best bet is to travel to Canada, Spain, or the UK if you want to obtain Cuban cigars for personal consumption.
Can You Ship Cuban Cigars to the US?
Importing Cuban cigars to the United States is illegal, even if it’s only for personal consumption. As a result, the only easy and legal way to obtain Cuban cigars is to do so in a country where it’s legal to sell them.
Even if you legally obtain the stogies in Cuba, you can’t ship them back to US soil. You used to be able to bring back 100 stogies (roughly 4 boxes), but that’s been restricted as of September 24. 2020.
What Happens if You Get Caught Importing?
The penalties for importing Cuban stogies vary on the severity of the crime. The law currently states that those caught importing illegal Cuban goods to the US can be subjected to a $250,000 fee or up to 10 years in prison.
Although harsh penalties are extremely rare, especially if you’re importing the goods for personal consumption.
Can You Buy Cuban Cigars Online and Ship Them to the US in 2023?
No, it’s illegal to obtain Cuban cigars on the internet and ship them to the US in 2023. While the Obama administration eased some of the restrictions on Cuban tobacco products, sanctions were tightened during the Trump administration in 2020.
You can no longer order Cuban rum, tobacco, and other Cuban products via mail-order. What’s more, the USA customs officials have started cracking down on those trying to import Cuban products, even for personal use.
These sanctions also make it illegal for American citizens to acquire Cuban tobacco products from duty free shops and bring them back to the US. You could be subjected to pay a hefty fine, and more severe cases could constitute a serious criminal offense.
How to Buy Cuban Cigars Online Legally
There are several companies that offer shipment of Cuban tobacco products to the United States. However, this is still deemed illegal and isn’t recommended. Furthermore, there are various cases of fake Cuban tobacco products in circulation, so verifying their authenticity will be challenging.
Can You Legally Buy Cuban Cigars Online?
In short, you can legally obtain Cuban cigars online. However, you can’t ship them to the United States. Doing so would violate the trade embargo and could leave you with a hefty fine to pay. So, it’s technically not worth the money when you consider the consequences.
When Can You Buy Cuban Cigars?
When the Obama administration lifted some of the restrictions on cigars from Cuba, it gave the cigar community some hope that they would be able to smoke the world’s most sought after stogies. However, newer limitations were put in place and now it’s difficult to obtain cigars for commercial purposes or personal consumption.
We can only hope that relations get better between the US and Cuba, so that Americans can enjoy their premium cigars without consequences.
Why Are Cuban Cigars So Popular?
There’s just something about Cuban stogies that scream quality and exclusivity. Cubans take their tobacco seriously, so they only use the finest tobacco leaves available for their cigars. Moreover, Cuban stogie makers have been using the same effective method for over 100 years.
The Cuban government takes pride in their stogie industry, so they have tight control over which cigars make it out. They go above and beyond to ensure each stogie doesn’t contain a single flaw.
While there are various high-quality brands that come out of Central and South America, Cuba still holds the throne. Furthermore, the exclusivity and rarity of owning a box of Cubans make them more desirable.
Obtaining Cuban stogies is certainly easier said than done, especially if you live in the United States. If you want to get Cuban stogies for personal consumption, your best bet is to obtain and smoke them in a nation where it’s legal.
Going the illegal route and ordering them online could leave you with an expensive price to pay. Moreover, there’s no way to really verify if the stogies you have are really Cuban. Reports claim that over 95% of Cuban stogies bought in the US are replicas.
Hopefully, it will be easier to get Cuban stogies on the web in the near future.