For every passionate smoker, the authentic Cuban cigar is the most-valued prize. It’s their holy grail and something they ultimately strive for. However, just a few years ago it was 100% illegal to have Cuban cigars in your possession on American soil. While those restrictions have changed since 2016, and now you’re somewhat allowed to smoke them, Cuban cigars still can’t be sold or bought in the United States.

Most people probably ask the same question – why are Cuban cigars illegal in the US? In order to fully explain why these exquisite cigars were banned in the first place, we need to take you back a few decades and tell you the whole story.

How Cuban cigars became illegal in the US?

With the ever-growing tension between the United States and Cuba back in the 1960s, the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, decided to impose a trade embargo on all goods in an effort to try to weaken the opposing side financially. As a result, later events, like the Cuban missile crisis combined with several assassination attempts and plots on both sides, further fueled the bad relationship between the two countries and cemented the trade embargo.

Ever since 1962, when Kennedy established the embargo, little has been done to lift the ban. In fact, several presidents that came after Kennedy made sure it remained effective until Fidel Castro’s death on November 25, 2016, when the relationship between the United States and Cuba finally changed for the better.

Are Cuban cigars illegal in the US after 2016?

During President Obama’s term, several financial and travel restrictions have been lifted, and US citizens find it easier now to travel and buy Cuban goods. As of 2016, more changes have been made, and now it is legal to have Cuban cigars in your possession if you bought them while traveling to Cuba.

Even the cap on the number of cigars you bring back has been significantly altered. Every US citizen who is 21 or older is allowed to bring back up to 50 cigars and doesn’t have to pay import taxes as long as the value of the cigars does not exceed 800$. That being said, trying to sell them on American soil is still considered very much illegal. If you’re caught trying to sell Cuban cigars, you may be subject to fines and several other penalties.

The only workaround is to claim that you received the cigars as a gift from someone who’s recently visited Cuba.

Alternatives to Cuban Cigars

While we can’t recommend trying to acquire Cuban cigars, we can suggest some good alternatives to the elusive commodity. Dominican and Nicaraguan cigars are considered just as good and usually have a somewhat lower price.

For those pure devotees of the authentic Cuban cigar, smoking anything else might feel like being unfaithful to their beliefs, but experts claim that some of the top Dominican cigars are even better than those of Cuban origin. As long as you can get past the “forbidden fruit” complex, we are convinced you will enjoy these alternatives just as much.

We hope this article provided you with all the answers to the ever-lingering question — are Cuban cigars illegal in the US? Have you ever had the chance to smoke them? Share your experiences in the comments and remember to keep up with our blog for the latest news in smokes and vaping.