Plain Packaging – What it Means for Cuban Cigars in Canada

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All signs point to the Canadian government sticking with its plan to enforce the plain packaging law on tobacco sales in the country. Despite numerous protests, petitions, advocate groups, it seems the Trudeau government will go ahead and do its part to help destroy what is already a highly regulated business sector – the premium cigar market. Ironically, Justin Trudeau’s father was a close friend and ally of Fidel Castro. I wonder if the two past leaders are looking down on this ridiculous law whilst enjoying a Cuban cigar in the outer dimensions.

Selling cigars in Canada, in a legal fashion, is a very tough business.  There are so many options for consumers that are sometimes more affordable than purchasing from a local authorized retailer.  I have been fortunate and grateful to have built a loyal and passionate clientele that have continued to buy from our shops locally, both at La Casa del Habano in Montreal, and most recently from Whisky Café in Montreal.  With all those challenges to ensure customers are satisfied, we are now being faced with a hurdle that will be, to say the least, a test to the industry, and an annoyance to the end customer.

Here are the details and dates and how it can affect you, the cigar consumer.  Effective November 9, 2020, the cigar distributors will no longer be allowed to sell cigars with the original packaging.  Retailers will then have until May 31, 2021 to sell off all their inventory with original packaging.  This pertains to the premium cigars.  The small format (mini, club, cigarillos) are already in plain packaging mode.  Keep in mind that discounting tobacco in some parts of Canada is illegal, and so retailers in say Quebec are not even permitted to sell their inventory at a discount should they need to liquidate their cigars.

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