From October of this year, cigar lovers leaving Cuba will need to be a little more careful with their cigars. Whilst from 2007 visitors could take 50 out of the country without a receipt or any other restriction, now only 20 can be taken loose.

Up to 50 can still be taken if in properly sealed-and-hologramed boxes. Typically, a box contains 25 cigars, so that represents leeway of roughly two sealed boxes or one recently opened one.

Again, this is without a factura (receipt for goods or services). Cuba is simply trying to reduce the number of illegal cigars passing out of the country. These cigars include any which have not been made and officially accounted for in Cuba's state-controlled factories.

Boxes of Cuban cigars cost $100-450 on the legal market and $25-40 on the black market. Of course on the black market buyers are taking a gamble regarding quality as well as potentially the law. Cuba has recently introduced more extensive proof of authenticity on their boxes.

Nevertheless, large numbers of inauthentic cigars do leave the country. To some extent this is due to lax enforcement of the law at customs, but serious dealers in under-the-counter cigars shift them out of the country in large quantities using some of the same routes and methods drug dealers do.

Readers may like to have a read through our guide to spotting fake/illegal cigars, and take care to use only reputable dealers, whether in Cuba or not.  

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