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Smoke 'em if you got 'em: Cuban cigars are coming

After more than 50 years of being blocked from legally buying Cuban cigars, U.S. smokers and retailers are welcoming the prospect of being able to get their hands on them openly.

"It's going to have an effect for everyone involved so we're going to see our business go up with the interest, so this is a win-win for everyone," said Luis Torres, general manager at retailer Davidoff of Geneva in New York.

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President Barack Obama announced major changes to U.S.-Cuba policy this week, including lifting certain restrictions on previously prohibited imports like Cuban cigars. The new rules would allow U.S. travelers to bring up to $100 worth of Cuban tobacco back to the United States for personal use.

Cuban cigar production at the H. Upmann cigar factory in Havana.
Adalberto Roque | AFP | Getty Images
Cuban cigar production at the H. Upmann cigar factory in Havana.

Torres predicted cigars will go domestically at retail for $25 and up.

"Cuban cigars are pricey," he said, "and they're going to be up there with some of the premium brands we have here."

While some aficionados said they eagerly anticipate having Cuban cigars, others argued that there are cigars from South America and the Dominican Republic that have the same or even better quality.

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Eric Newman, president of JC Newman Cigar, a U.S. cigarmaker that has been around since 1895, said Obama's announcement will drum up interest in cigars in general, which would be great for business. Despite the limitations on what Americans will be able to bring into the country—$100 amounts to only five or 10 cigars—Newman is optimistic of the ripple effect all the attention could have.

"It will be a positive development for the entire premium cigar industry because there is a lot of interest and curiosity that after 53 years, the American cigar smoker is able to try a Cuban cigar legally."