As many cigar connoisseurs know, you cannot buy Cuban cigars in the United States due to a strict US-Cuba trade embargo; so why are Cuban cigars legal in Canada? Canada has no such trade restrictions with Cuba, so Canadians can purchase Cubans from their favourite cigar shop, like Cigar Chief.

If you’re new to cigars, keep reading to find out why buying Cubans is illegal in the United States but legal in Canada.

Are Cuban Cigars Legal in Canada?

Yes, buying Cuban cigars in Canada is legal! There are several reasons why Canada does not have a trade embargo with Cuba, such as:

Bilateral Relations

Canada and Cuba have a longstanding mutually-beneficial relationship across all sectors, including the business sector. For instance, the Government of Canada fully “supports the process of economic modernization being undertaken by the Cuban government”. Canada and Cuba’s bilateral relations mean there are no trade restrictions against importing Cuban cigars into Canada. 


As of 2021, the Canadian Government asserts that Cuba is the third most popular overseas destination for Canadians to visit. Further, Canadians make up the bulk of tourism within Cuba, accounting for more than 40% of tourism within Cuba. Cigar lovers sampling a Cuban cigar on vacation will absolutely want to light up their new favourite premium Cuban cigar at home. Fortunately, as a Canadian, you can find a retailer, buy a box, and store them in your humidor. 

The History of Cigars Within Canada

The Canadian cigar craze began when First Nations communities introduced the public to wild tobacco; this sparked the cigar boom in the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, 40 Canadian cigar manufacturers grew tobacco predominately in Norfolk County, Ontario, to keep up with the increasing demand for cigars. 

However, by the 1920s, Cuban and American cigars hit the market at a much lower price, causing the Canadian manufacturers to go out of business. Even though Canadian cigar companies closed, Canadians now had a taste for cigars and continued to buy imported brands.

This continued until the Cuban Revolution, when the United States banned Cuban cigar imports. This allowed Canadian cigar manufacturers to emerge and fill the American demand for premium cigars. Although there was some demand for cigars and new manufacturer start-ups, international cigar sales declined from the 1960 to the 1990s. 

It wasn’t until the 1990s that smoking cigars experienced its renaissance. Thanks to the embargo, manufacturers turned to new countries like Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to grow top-quality tobacco, so they could sell their product to the United States and beyond.

Canada’s Cuban Cigar History 

To clarify, Canada and Cuba share a mutually beneficial trade agreement that does not preclude the import of Cuban cigars. Furthermore, there has never been any trade restrictions with Cuba, meaning Canadians can buy Cuban cigars legally from cigar shops.

Are Cuban Cigars Legal in the US?

Due to the 1962 trade embargo US President John F. Kennedy imposed on Cuban products, Americans cannot legally purchase Cuban cigars. President Kennedy created the embargo to weaken the communist rule of Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the Cold War.

The Cigar Industry and Castro

When Castro came to power, he seized control of tobacco industries and farmlands to nationalize tobacco brands. This spurred President Kennedy to impose the trade embargo to restrict the sale of Cuban goods, namely tobacco, to American consumers.

60 years later, the embargo remains intact. 

The Takeaway

So, are Cuban cigars legal in Canada? Yes.

Even though Cuban cigars are illegal in the United States due to the US-Cuba trade embargo, Cuban cigars are perfectly legal and easy to find if you’re Canadian. You don’t have to travel to Cuba to light up a top-quality Cuban cigar. If you’re ready to add some premium Cuban smokes to your humidor, check out our vast selection of Cubans at Cigar Chief!

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