Though heads of state have sought out and smoked Cuban cigars throughout the centuries, the island’s revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, is perhaps most closely linked with the coveted smoke. After taking power in 1959 until he gave up cigars 26 years later, Castro was rarely photographed without a cigar.
The fate of Cuban cigars in America and, indeed, all premium cigars in the U.S. is caught up in a political struggle over e-cigarettes and other forms of tobacco not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
As the industry awaits the FDA’s so-called “deeming” regulations, which we explained in-depth previously, a Congressional committee recently adopted a legislative provision that would ease the regulations’ impact on premium cigars, e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco and additional tobacco products.
Twelve U.S. airlines have submitted bids to fly commercial flights directly from the U.S. to Cuba, and the first regularly scheduled daily trips in 50 years could begin this fall, according to multiple published reports.
Any day now, the federal government could announce radical changes to the way it regulates cigars and upend the industry in the U.S. for domestic as well as foreign cigars. One guide to the FDA’s proposed “deeming” regulations calls them potentially “the most substantial change to the premium cigar industry since the U.S. enacted an embargo on Cuba in 1962.”