Cuban cigars on the whole are renowned as the world's best, which would be hotly
contested by manufactures in Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua, as well as others.
It's difficult for Americans to judge, since Cuban cigars, as well as other
Cuban products, are illegal in the United States and have been since the Cuban
embargo in 1962. And, yes, they are still illegal, similar to online casinos. As recently as 1995 this
question was addressed once again. The following letter was sent to the members
of the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America Inc. from the Department of the Treasury.
"Only persons returning directly from Cuba after a licensed visit there are
permitted to bring Cuban cigars into the United States, provided the domestic
value of such cigars does not exceed 100 U.S. dollars and the cigars are for the
person's personal use and not for resale. Inasmuch as all other importations of
Cuban cigars are illegal, you must assume that all offers to buy or sell such
cigars in the United States involve cigars that are imported illegally. Contrary
to what many people believe, it is illegal for travelers to bring into the
United States Cuban cigars acquired in third countries (such as Canada, England,
"It is illegal for U.S. persons to buy, sell, trade, give away, or otherwise
engage in (or offer to engage in) transactions involving illegally - imported Cuban
cigars. The penalties for doing so include, in addition to confiscation of the
cigars, civil fines of up to $50,000 per violation and, in appropriate cases,
criminal prosecution which may result in imprisonment.
"We recognize that the prohibitions that apply to Cuban cigars may deprive many
consumers of a sought-after product. However, these prohibitions apply to all
goods of Cuban origin and are an important element of the comprehensive program
of economic sanctions against the Cuban government which have been in place
since 1963. These sanctions have had the full support of the past seven
Administrations and were further tightened by President Clinton in August 1994."
However, Cuban cigars do find their way into the United States. It is estimated
that some three to seven million Cuban cigars are smuggled into the country yearly,
mostly by business men in their briefcases, military personal, and people returning
from vacations to foreign countries.