Why are Cuban Cigars Illegal? Major Reasons

Cuban cigars have a reputation as being the best, so why are they illegal in the United States? Read below to get the full details.

Why are Cuban Cigars Illegal?

Few cigars are as popular among cigar enthusiasts as Cuban cigars. It’s not because these cigars contain any illegal substances.

Rather, they are in high demand due to the love of “forbidden fruit” implied by the name and origin country. But why are these cigars still prohibited? And how did they ever become illegal, to begin with?

There are numerous rumors about the quality and quantity of Cuban cigars. In this article, we’ll explain what these rumors are, why Cuban cigars are still highly sought after today, and whether they’re really worth the money.

Why are Cuban cigars Illegal in the United States?

During the 1960s, the United States took a hardline stance against communism, which Cuba’s leader at the time (Fidel Castro) had put in place.

To defend the country against the looming threat of communism and what it could mean for America’s power in the international community, President Kennedy enacted an embargo in 1962.

The embargo itself was meant to help weaken the economies of communist countries. More specifically, it was to sever the trade between the United States and Cuba.

The strict trade embargo was done as a way to pressure President Fidel Castro’s communist regime to fail.

The trade embargo remained in place throughout the Cold War, acting as a warning shot for any countries that wanted to recreate Fidel Castro’s rise to power in their own country.

After Fidel Castro’s death, there were talks of making Cuban cigars legal again.


Why are Cuban Cigars still Illegal?

The relationship between the United States and Cuba remains shaky at best. In the past, Cuban officials almost sparked a nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis, as Cuba was an ally of Russia during the Cold War.

Today, relationships are still strained. While things are getting better, the truth is that politicians are now starting to use their policies toward Cuba as a form of grandstanding.

As a result, the full embargo with Cuba seems to be on an on-again, off-again basis for the time being.

A full repeal of the embargo would likely take serious reform to happen. Due to the current inefficacy of our country’s politics, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see a full repeal happen anytime soon.

Is it Illegal to Have a Cuban Cigar in the U.S.?

Technically, it is not illegal to own a Cuban cigar in the U.S. The main issue is buying, selling, or smuggling cigars in the United States from an embargoed country.

These actions make Cuban cigars illegal, not the act of possessing one from the 1960s.

There are probably quite a few families from South Florida who still have a humidor with cigars in their possession from the era of Castro. That’s not illegal.

Is there a Penalty for Smuggling Cuban Cigars into the United States?

The penalties for smuggling cigars from this country are fairly steep. If you are caught smuggling them for personal consumption or commercial purposes, you’ll pay a fine of $55,000.

Considering the steep price tag, it may be better to wait for trade sanctions reform to take place.

Once in a while, you may hear of a company or store that claims to have Cuban cigars for sale. You may even see cigars with labels reading “Havana, Cuba” or buy cigars in an “under the table” sale.

Sometimes, sellers may claim that a specific line of South American cigars is actually just repackaged Cuban products.


Cuban cigars are prohibited due to a trade embargo imposed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. While some may argue that the embargo’s rationale no longer makes much political sense, the embargo remains in effect.

As a result, buying and selling Cuban tobacco products (and most products in general) in America remains illegal. We believe the above piece of information was useful. Please, kindly share this content on all the available social media platforms.

CSN Team.

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