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Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 1:23 pm

Fortune has it that I have found myself in possession of Cuban cigars. Since I myself do not smoke cigars, I wish to provide them as a gift for someone else. However, that person resides in Europe and my flight to Europe originates in the US. Would it be possible for me to take these along with me or would security confiscate them?
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 1:42 pm

Coming in to the United States would be more problematic.

Leaving? I am not sure you would have a problem. I've never taken cigars to a foreign country.

I've "heard" that customs officials in the U.S. confiscate them on the way in....and see to it that they are destroyed.

Hopefully not by fire and not one at a time.
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:00 pm

This problem is very similar to my Vicodan and Percocet in Mexico one! Here is what I say, put them in your checked bag DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HIDE THEM in any way and if they stop you just tell them that you didnt know that it was illegal and let them take them without a fight. I have only once ever had a problem and the officer told me either I can turn them over as "waist" or they would have to try to figure out exactly where I had got them and if they were illegal all the while I would have to be held. I imagine cigars are the same because truly the officer at the desk cannot determine if they were bought there.
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:34 pm

Lol vicodin and percocet? You had a perscription for those right?  Big grin But anyways, why not ship them (the cigars)?
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:50 pm

Leaving the US, there is no customs check or inspection. However, I don't know how the TSA/security inspection would affect this. Are they allowed to seize contraband items from your luggage? Most countries in Europe, if not all, allow import of Cuban products.

I agree with UAL747DEN, can't do any harm to take them, just do not hide them. Now, about the Vicodan and Percocet,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

If not now, then when?
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:33 pm

My two cents... unwrap them, carefully take the paper ring off, and place them inside a ziploc-bag somewhere in your checked luggage. If truly a quality cigar, the connoisseur recipient will surely appreciate them, even without all the fancy packing.

I've been smoking cigars for 18+ years, and at least 5 to 10 cigars accompany me in a travel humidor in any typical four-day business travel. Never had a problem, in or out the US... Although I never attempt to bring in Cuban, I have never been questioned about their origin.

As a side note, I find Cuban cigars to be an overrated (and overpriced) cult myth... There are excellent cigars made in Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Mexico... And on a recent trip to Lima, I smoked a couple of astonishingly good Peruvian-made "Bolivares". Wow.

So no need to get in trouble for bringing in a fine Cuban cigar into the US - plenty of fine options out there.

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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 4:35 pm

Adriaticus is right. Just remove any label that indicates that they are Cubans and you should have no trouble. I was told this at LHR duty free when I asked if I can buy cubans to take them with me to the States.
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 5:08 pm

It depends on the quantity of cigars. I flew several times into the US with a box of cubans. As long as they are for your personal use TSA/customs/immigration don't have any problem with them.
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 5:18 pm

I know this is off topic, but what is so bad about cuban cigars?

And when you have to give up the cigars at U.S. customs, what exactly do they do with the cigars, really? Do the customs agents keep it for themselves or go out back in the break room and smoke one for themselves?
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 5:25 pm

One of my friends stuck some in the bottom of his golfbag coming back from Mexico and they didnt catch him. You could probably get away with it like that.

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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 5:41 pm

Are they allowed to seize contraband items from your luggage? Most countries in Europe, if not all, allow import of Cuban products.

Of course they are allowed to seize contraband. If they see you travelling with 50 kilos of cocaine, for example, they're not going to just let you go because you don't have any weapons to go along with it. Their job is law enforcement.

Cuban cigars are not 100% forbidden in the US anymore, but there are still some pretty strict rules. I would think exporting them from the US would be greeted with suspicion at the very least, and suspicion is one of the things you don't want when you're trying to board an airplane.

I would also think anything over the $100 value currently allowed to be brought back from Cuba would be confiscated immediately (you don't say how many you have), since it is illegal to sell Cuban cigars and you'd have a tough time convincing anyone you were going to smoke more than that amount yourself on a vacation. (I'm not sure what the rules are for giving them away, but again you'd probably be questioned at least as to where you got them, since you can't bring more than that amount into the country to begin with.)
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 7:26 pm

The land of the free, but you're not allowed to smoke Cuban cigars! Quite ironic really.
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 7:40 pm

The cigars are legal in the US if they were purchased in/from Russia, which I am sure they were. My friend gave me one, the last one in the box. I gave the cigar away. I thought the box was of more value.
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 8:06 pm

Its not illegal to smoke Cuban cigars in the US. You just can't import them from a third country, say the UK. If I were to fly from Cuba to the US, I am allowed three boxes of cigars. I've brought them back from EU several times and not even a hiccup.

As to leaving the US for a foreign destination, you won't have any problems. I usually place them in my carry-on, yes, yes, I know, no lighters and no matches...

Don't worry about it. Like the saying goes...smoke 'em if you got 'em.
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sat Jul 24, 2004 11:49 pm

One option is to ship them by mail. Just go to the local post office and mail them to the person you want to give them to.

While it is illegal to transport Cuban cigars through the United States, I've found customs enforcement to be somewhat lax in regards to this. U.S. Customs is primarily looking for drugs and explosives. Since you will be "in transit", they are less likely to do a thorough search of your checked luggage. I've taken five cruises (three through Miami, one through Tampa, and one through Long Beach), and I've never had my luggage searched. In fact, my last cruise (through Tampa) was the only time that the customs officer even asked me any questions. By the way, the questions were, "How many people are traveling with you today?", "Do you have any cigars?", and "Do you have any alcohol with you?" After I answered his questions, I was sent on my way.

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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:28 am

"The land of the free, but you're not allowed to smoke Cuban cigars! Quite ironic really."

..this coming from the land of the heavily taxed....

Now THAT is ironic... really.
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RE: Cuban Cigars

Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:48 am

What the hell did that have to do with anything, JeffM? Changing the subject again?

What IS wrong with Cuban cigars? Except our out-of-date paranoia with Cuba, which should have ended long ago.

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