Cuban cigar allowance won't mean immediate local sales - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Cuban cigar allowance won't mean immediate local sales


President Barack Obama has lifted restrictions on Cuban cigars and rum coming into the United States. The decision comes as both countries try to improve their relations.

But it doesn't mean local smoke shops will be able to carry that Cuban Cohiba.

READ MORE: US removes limits on bringing in Cuban rum, cigars

Americans traveling to and from Cuba can bring thousands of dollars in cigars and rum back now, but those cigars won't be on sale locally.

"There's always going to be people who want Cuban cigars because they weren't able to get them legally before, and most people smoke fake Cubans,” said Chuck Facemire of the Humidor Pipe Shop in Huntsville.
Humidor is the oldest smoke shop in the state. The owner wants to give consumers the real thing.

The Obama administration lifted the restrictions on Friday. However, smoke shops are still waiting for Food and drug Administration approval before any of the highly sought after cigars hit the store shelf, and that could take some more time.
"And that's going to cost the Cubans money which they don't have to get into the country." Facemire said.

He said his small business  is ready for the surge, but he doesn't think it'll last long once that FDA approval goes through.
"People don't realize how expensive Cuban cigars are. It'll be big for a month or two, but people are going to realize there's better cigars coming from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic."

Obama also lifted limits on cargo ship travel between the U.S. and Cuba to give the two countries the ability to conduct joint medical research.

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