Cuban cigars are illegal for use by United States citizens. The reason is linked to an event that occurred in 1962. Cuba was under the control of the Fidel Castro communist regime, from 1959. He started to seize private property and other assets, like cigar companies. In February 1962, John F. Kennedy imposed a trade embargo against Cuba. In October 1962, Castro allowed Soviets to construct missile bases on the island to strike against the United States.
The U.S. responded to this act of Castro by blocking Cuba from the help of the Soviets. The United States prevented Soviet ships from delivering the materials to Cuba. The seed of nuclear war emerged due to Castro’s Cuban missile crisis. Attempts were made to assassinate Castro by using poisoned cigars.
Castro is no longer a friend of the United States. Open trading with Cuba was considered to be equivalent to supporting communism. So the U.S. law makers decided to officially ban trading with Cuba, especially for cigars. Though there were several attempts made to lift the ban, it was still strengthened even more in 2004. United States citizens cannot legally consume Cuban cigars, even when they are travelling abroad. Violators are strictly and heavily fined in this regard. They are also at higher risk of being seized if they bring Cuban products into the United States. This is the law enforced in the United States. Though it is impractical to be enforced, it is still a law.
The office of Foreign Assets Control has enforced a penalty for the crime of using Cuban cigars and Cuban products. The fine is as high as $1 million dollars for corporations, and $250,000 for individuals, as well as 10 years of imprisonment. In addition to this, civil penalties are also imposed. This Cuban Assets control regulations act was recently revised in September 2004.
The trade embargo imposed by the U.S. on Cuba is the main reason why the use of Cuban cigars is illegal.