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Cuban Cigars

Are Cuban Cigars Legal in Canada?

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

Are Cuban cigars legal in Canada? The short and long answer is, yes. What else do you need to know? Well, a couple of things.

TAXES

Cuban cigars, all cigars, are subject to at least a 55 percent tax on top of the cost of the cigars. The Ontario Ministry of Finance website lists the tax as “56.6 percent of the taxable price of a cigar.” So, if you’re buying in Toronto, that’s the government’s take on that box of 25 Montecristo No. 2s you’re dying to buy. If that box costs the tobacconist $500, for example, the minimum cost to you after the tax is added will be $783. That doesn’t include any profit tacked on. So, Cuban cigars – actually, any cigars – in Canada are VERY expensive.

PRICES

Giving exact prices is a little difficult, but let’s look at it this way. A Cuban H. Upmann Magnum 54 costs about US$11 in Cuba. In Canada, with the exchange rate, you’d add 25 percent. So, in Canadian dollars, the price would be CAD$13.75. Add the 56.6 percent tax and you’re looking at CAD$21.53. Now add the markup of up to 100 percent and you’re looking at more than CAD$40 for each cigar.

Believe me, the sticker shock is pretty significant. I remember being in Vancouver in 1995 and Cuban cigars were very reasonable. Returning in 2016, the prices had become somewhat outrageous, especially given the chances that any Cuban cigar could suffer from construction “challenges.”

One warning. Don’t go by prices Canadian retailers list online. Those are generally prices without taxes.

YA GOTTA SMOKE THEM THERE

You probably already know that Cuban cigars cannot legally be bought in the United States. You might not be up to speed on whether you can legally bring Cuban cigars into the US from, say, Canada. No. You cannot. The Trump administration revised the Obama policy and made it illegal once again to bring in any Cuban cigars

So, find a nice place in Canada to enjoy your Cuban cigars. Oh, good luck. Canada is about as strict as any jurisdiction anywhere when it comes to smoking in public. Indoors or outdoors.

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