A Cuban cigar is the most famous tobacco product in the world.
Havana is the heart of tobacco production region. It is a place where a wide range of tourists can smoke freely, contrary to Cuban residents who almost do no smoke cigars. The reason why Cubans do not smoke cigars is high cigar prices and their low salaries. That is why Cubans cannot buy cigars and as a rule produce this celebrated tobacco product for foreigners — for export and tourists.
Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary and politician, was smoking Cuban cigars for many years but quitted in the mid-1980s. A fierce anti-smoking campaign by the government has had an influence in the past 10 years, but the reason is a price.
Rolando Robaina, a taxi driver from the tobacco region Vinales, presents his clients 2 cigars as a gift from Havana, then suggest to sell Cuban cigars more. Rolando said that he himself does not smoke.
Bill Messina, an expert on Cuba, was a dozen times there since the 1990s. Messina said that it is natural in Cuba that only tourists and those who are in cigar factories smoke cigars because it is a luxury tobacco product that not everybody can afford it.
The average salary in Cuba is $17 to $20 a month. The price of a cigar is about a dollar in Cuba’s currency and even thus Cubans cannot allow themselves to buy a cigar. But there are also low-rated cigars that cost less, but they are not popular.
A Cuba expert, Archibald Ritter, said that 10 years ago Cubans could buy five cigars a month at discount price.
Ritter said that residents could buy cigar at lower price and then resell them.
Cuba exports not only cigars, but also nickel, sugar and shellfish, but only cigars have produced constant profit. Besides this, cigars are the pride of Cuba.
Jose Azel, a professor at the University of Miami that a cigar remains a status symbol in Cuba.
In 2011, Cuba exported about $240 million in cigars and that is only 4.5 percent of Cuban exports.
Cigars have symbolic role as a brand of Cuba.
This brand is particularly popular in the United States. There Cuban cigars have been the well-known product in a 50-year economic embargo of communist Cuba.
Habanos S.A, a company which is 50% owned by the Cuban government and the Spanish Altadis, produces in the U.S. clones of famous brands of Cuban cigars: Partagas, Montecristo, Cohiba
The Cigar Aficionado magazine a big proposer of the Cuban cigar and often publicizes a story on Cuba.
Gordon Mott, the executive editor of Cigar Aficionado said that today’s Cuban cigars are better than those produced in the last 15 years.