Premium cigar smokers are puffing away in exclusive cigar lounges and on the pool sides of five-star hotels, just as cigarette smokers are being banished from indoors to street corners and dark alleys due to growing awareness of the health risks posed by smoking.
Further growth in premium cigars, priced between $20 and $200 each or more, is expected in particular to be fuelled by two Communist-ruled countries: Cuba and China.
By chance or by design, the Obama administration recently decided to establish a rapport with Cuba, in the process allowing its legendary cigars to be sold for the first time to consumers in the United States, the world’s biggest market for premium cigars. In China, luxury cigars have the distinction of maintaining a high growth stream despite President Xi Jinping’s targeting of ostentatious spending as part of his anti-corruption drive.
“We welcome the development announced last month regarding starting down the road to normalise relations between Cuba and the U.S., our biggest market and also the biggest market for premium cigars worldwide,” said Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, chief executive officer of Oettinger Davidoff AG, which owns the Davidoff brand of tobacco products. “This development clearly heralds a new era for the cigar market mainly in the U.S. with the eventual lifting of the embargo. This will provide a real boost to the premium cigar market.”
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