Tobacco stores hoping to import Cuban cigars soon

AUSTIN – At least one store in Austin is selling Cuban cigars, according to a source, and the number could increase as trade restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba are eased.

Tobaccoville in South Austin sells many types of tobacco, but none of the cigars are Cuban yet.

"I think I've had a few questions like if we had any kind of Cuban cigars or something like that and of course, no we don't and they're always disappointed and whatnot by that," said River Hooks with Tobaccoville.

Friday was the first day travel restrictions were eased between Cuba and the U.S., and travel experts are expecting American visits to Cuba to triple in 2015.

"I no longer need a license to sell travel to Cuba," said Tessie Aral, a travel agent in Florida. "I no longer need a license to charter a plane to Cuba."

While restrictions are easing, they have not been completely lifted. Americans can travel to Cuba for one of the following reasons:

  • Visiting family,
  • Conducting government business,
  • If they are a journalist,
  • An importer or exporter,
  • Performing research or for educational purposes,
  • Religious or humanitarian causes,
  • Public performer,
  • An athlete competing

The maximum Americans will be able to import will be $400 worth of goods, including no more than $100 worth of tobacco products.

American Tobacco enthusiasts say bring on the Cuban Cigars.

"I think it would be a good idea I mean it would be just like having Chinese Food here right? People just want more variety, more tasteful things like that," said Hooks.

Later this month the State Department will travel to Havana to begin laying the groundwork for a new U.S. Embassy in Cuba.


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