Plain Packaging Cigars: What You Need to Know

The Government of Canada has recently put into effect a law that requires all cigars to be put into plain packaging. You’ve seen plain packaging with cigarettes for years, but as of November 9, 2020, it applies to cigars as well. And retailers throughout Canada only have until May 8, 2021 to comply with the new legislation.

What is Plain Packaging?

Plain packaging is a generic and standardized packaging that is devoid of branding. The plain packaging will include only the brand name of the cigar, health warnings and other legally required information. 

Generic packaging, however, does not mean you are getting generic cigars. If you order a Cuban cigar, you will be getting an authentic Cuban cigar. 

Obviously, plain packaging is going to be an adjustment and that’s why we’ve put together this guide.  

We want our customers—and cigar smokers from around the country—to understand what they can expect from these regulations. 

Keep reading to learn more.

What Does Plain Packaging Look Like?

What Products Does Plain Packaging Apply To?

Plain packaging apples to boxes, singles and tubos cigars. In fact, it applies to all tobacco products intended for sale in Canada, including (as defined by the Government of Canada), “duty-free shops, trans-border stores, ships’ stores, and to Canadian tobacco products sold in duty-free stores.”

What Does Plain Packaging Mean for Cigar Chief Customers?

It means when you order from us you may be receiving plain packaged cigars, depending on our current inventory. You will not be able to specify whether you want it or not.

Who Has to Follow Plain Packaging Legislation?

Every retailer in Canada. Plain packaging is not something specific to us—every retailer selling cigars has to follow this legislation now.

Possible Guarantee Complications—And What We’re Doing About Them

Our plain packaging law is specific to Canada. As such, official Habanos manufacturers are not set up for verifying their product with new Canadian barcode stamps instead of the traditional cuban stamps. 

We still 100% guarantee our cuban cigars authenticity. We are currently working to resolve serial number verification with Habanos S.A. but please note that you may not be able to verify your product’s serial number in the meantime.

The Big Concerns with Plain Packaging

Cost. Cigars are actually more expensive with plain packaging as manufacturers need to design and print separate packaging just for Canada. This cost gets passed down the supply chain to distributors and customers.

Availability. Because of the specifics needed just for Canada. Which is a small market for cigars worldwide. Some cigar companies will choose not to distribute to Canada as it may not be profitable for them.

Verifying Authenticity. As already mentioned, manufacturers are not set to verify the cigars authenticity at the moment. We are working to change this. 

While the reality of plain packaging is hitting as an immediate and new development, the legislation has been in the works since 2018, when Bill S-5 was passed. Unfortunately, back then we could not have foreseen some of the complications that would arise now, but the good news is none of these challenges are insurmountable. At Cigar Chief, we’re doing everything we can to streamline the transition and bring about a speedy resolution of any issues.

Statement from Havana House

Havana House is Canada’s official importer of authentic Cuban cigars. They have released their statement on the Plain Packaging situation in Canada, echoing many of the same sentiments & concerns of ours.

Read their official statement

We’re here if you have any questions. Feel free to contact us anytime. You can also read about the plain packaging legislation on the Government of Canada website.

19 thoughts on “Plain Packaging Cigars in Canada

  1. Richard Chartrand says:

    Dear Cigarchief,

    The proposed plain packaging of all cigars is an ill-advised poorly thought out idea. You have clearly described in your article above the disadvantages to the consumer of doing away with manufacturer’s branding – colourful, pleasant, helpful, proof of provenance, etc.

    This proposal must be stopped before it becomes law!


  2. Wes says:

    The Nanny State strikes again. Unbelievable.

  3. Robert says:

    Everything short of banning cigars all together!

  4. Caelum says:

    This is insanity!!!! Bureaucrats and the special interest groups on the left that hide under a so called ‘progressive’ banner are totalitarian in their push towards a dictatorial socialist nanny state. They want people ignorant, scared, controlled, dependent, and subservient to the state. They will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Micromanaging our lives is all part of their plan. People need to wake up and push back if they want to live as a ‘free people’.

  5. Mike Bauer says:

    We are always trying to discourage people from smoking tobacco products, but at the same time we are legalizing marijuana and saying it is OK to purchase and smoke it. I am baffled at the difference in tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol, in the eyes of the government.

  6. rstrevez says:

    Ridiculous and stupid. I guess we are not mature enough so our government has to show us better.

  7. Peter Huff says:

    Just another reason to vote them out next election

  8. Mike says:

    Consumers are going to buy what they want, when they want, regardless of how it is packaged. This is just a total waste of time and money!!

  9. Marc says:

    I am all for it, I am so sick of kids asking me to buy expensive cigars for them. Crazy youth. Also, why would I want to easily identify fakes by their band?

  10. OMG!! Well, I guess my cigar box guitar business will suffer….That sucks.

  11. Lee says:

    Once again, the government proving they are out of touch with reality. trying to discourage people from buying something that they make a ridiculous amount of tax revenue from….OR…is this to discourage kids from smoking. OH! WAIT. THAT’S right, They’ll make even MORE in tax revenue when marijuana is legalized….and kids are buying it!!!

  12. JR says:

    So I’m thinking we better start doing this for Wine sales and other alcohol products… don’t want to give the wrong impression… 🙄Hell, even milk is bad for you! WTF are the morons thinking!!! This is not a dictatorship! The pot guys got their 420, us cigar connoisseurs need to start to tally the troops and fight back against this bull shit!

  13. Jim says:

    Question…what is going to happen when we leagally buy our 50 cigars while on vacation in Cuba or the USA. Are the Canadian customs going to confiscate them on our return trip and say that they don’t conform to Canadian law????

    1. David says:

      That is a very interesting question. I personally can’t see this as being an issue. The law will most likely be written concerning “products sold in Canada.” This is not legal advice – but a hunch.

  14. Darren says:

    Maybe they can just wrap the boxes in plain wraping paper too get around this?

  15. James Stork says:

    What is next? Maybe they will force producers to adulterate tobacco with stuff that makes it virtually impossible to smoke. What about doing that for the packaging for high sugar content and high fat content foods. I had better not say that too loudly: they might be listening.
    Once again, the government imposes regulations and controls to take away our liberty and choices in life. Here is another one. The Alberta government makes it illegal for me to order tobacco products from other provinces through the mail. Even if I purchase it personally in another province, I can only bring back so a limited amount even if it is for my own consumption. I enjoy the odd small cigar as a treat once in a while but am forced to pay higher prices in my province. So much for freedom, capitalism and liberty.

  16. Mike says:

    This plain packaging BS is just another form of government control by the progressives/liberals/socialists. They do not like freedom of choice because they firmly believe that human beings are not capable of making the correct choices for themselves.

    As Winston Churchill said of socialism, and by extension its two ugly stepsisters liberals and progressives.

    “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
    Winston Churchill

  17. roland.esmeralda says:

    Even Communist countries like Cuba or China would never rule on such nonsense regulations! Canada is the country of governing minorities and chronically destabilized whining people.

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