Cigars have been smoked for over a millennium, as the decoration of a ceramic pot in Guatemala shows. The name cigar may very well have originated from the Mayan word sikar (smoking).
Seeing the popularity of cigarettes today, it may be hard to believe that smoking cigars used to be much more common than smoking cigarettes. Today, about 21% of adults smoke cigarettes, while only about 2,2% regularly enjoy cigars.
As a result of this switch in popularity, smoking cigars is seen by many today as elegant, or even as a sort of status symbol. There is another reason for this as well: the price of cigars.
Unlike cigarette smoking, cigar smoking remains a predominantly male activity (just like pipe smoking).
While there are cigars available for as little as a few dollars, premium cigars can cost several times that amount. Because of this, it is very important for cigar enthusiasts to find the best option to buy their cigars. Which is why duty free and tax free online cigar shops are the best choice.
This guide aims to compare the prices available at various online and offline shops, with an emphasis on duty-free shops.
UPDATE: Coupon codes for duty free cigar are at the bottom! Scroll down to get the temporary coupon codes, while they are still valid. New coupon codes are posted regularly.
Airport duty-free shops are among the most popular locations to buy cigars. There are two main reasons for this. First, there are certain brands that are only available in certain shops and countries. Second, many people assume that these are the cheapest cigars available due to the shop being duty-free.
However, this is often not the case!
Although duty-free shops should be able to offer their products at lower prices due to being exempt from certain taxes, the prices they offer are often higher than those you can find at regular brick and mortar retailers.
This is why if you plan to buy duty free cigars to always do a price-check first.
I compared the price of Cohiba Siglo 25 pack in a duty free shop at a US airport, in an online duty free shop and a local US retailer.
Online duty free shop – $404
Duty free shop at airport – $375
Local retailer (US) – $315
As you can see from the price comparison, in this case, the box of cigars is the cheapest at a local retailer and not in a duty free shop. This is typical of brick & mortar duty free shops. They are actually a scam and almost nothing they sell is actually cheaper than local retailers (this is true for 90% of the analyzed product categories).
Rolling tobacco and cigarettes are always the cheapest in online duty free shops, therefore it was really surprising that in this case it was the most expensive option.
I have also checked 5 other cigar brands. And in 60% of the cases the local retailer was the cheapest, 30% of the time the online duty free shop and in a few instances the duty free shop had the most affordable cigars.
Doing a price comparison for cigars was actually the hardest of all the product categories I analyzed so far. The difference in packages, the limited availability and the subtle differences between the hundreds of different types made it more difficult than I anticipated. Still, because there is no clear tendency, I recommend doing a price comparison, whenever you shop for cigars online. That’s the only way to find the best cigars online.
One thing’s for certain is that online duty free shops definitely have the biggest selection. If there is a good discount or you can get a coupon code they are still a good place to buy cheap cigars online (if there are bulk discount codes and coupon codes available, you can find them at the bottom of the page).
The online duty free shop I recommend regularly has premium cigars on sale and offers free shipping. You can check out their selection here.
Be careful with online shops because many don’t offer free shipping and the cigars appear to be seemingly cheaper but once you add the cost of shipping you will end up paying more! This is a common trick sadly.
/Apart from checking the prices themselves, you should also be mindful that buying tobacco products is not legal in every country. Make sure you are not breaking the law. Also, you must be 18+ to purchase tobacco products online./
Buying cheap quality cigars online
As mentioned before, if you are looking to buy cheap duty free cigars, brick and mortar tax free shops may not be your best choice.
Brick and mortar shops give buyers the advantage that they may look at the actual products before purchasing them. However, this can be a disadvantage as well. Some of the airport shops selling duty-free cigars store cigars imperfectly, which can result in a sub-par smoking experience.
Cigars are best stored at a temperature of about 21 degrees Celsius and at a humidity of 70%. In order to achieve these conditions, stores use humidors. Some duty-free stores, however – Heathrow is said to be among them – have poor climate control, which can result in your cigars turning stale. At least you can be sure online duty free shops store your premium cigars in climate controlled bonded warehouses till you make the purchase.
Avoiding tax free cigar scams
Due to not being physically present at the transaction, buyers face the risk of shops scamming them when buying cigars online. There are some clues you should pay attention to in order to avoid being cheated .
There are two things to keep in mind. The first one is whether the shop accepts credit cards. Online shops selling cheap tax free cigars, which do not accept credit cards are most likely a scam. Avoid those places (especially if they only accept anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin or cash in envelope).
You should also check out whether the website is well-maintained – uncurated websites with no social media presence that haven’t been updated for years are much more likely to be scams.
Legal issues with buying cigars online
Even if you don’t receive your shipment of the cigars you bought online, the shop may not be at fault. Your cigars may be seized if buying cigars online is not legal in your country.
Ordering from online duty-free cigar shops can help you with this. The shop I recommend offers a form of insurance to protect buyers. If you decide to pay some extra, your order will be guaranteed to be delivered again if it happens to be seized by customs, free of charge. I strongly suggest using this insurance if you bulk order.
You should also pay attention to the allowances on tobacco products in your country. The general rule is that you may bring 100 cigars into the US or 50 cigars into the EU without added taxes, but these regulations may also change by state.
You can find the duty free allowances here, at the bottom.
If your shipment is seized, contact the retailer you bought the cigars from; even if it was uninsured many online cigar shops offer some form of recompense.
Duty-free allowances for cigars
You can find the duty-free allowances for cigars here: Duty-free, tax free guide with allowances (sorted by country).
Certain countries seize your order if it exceeds the limit on duty free products. The UK, and to a lesser extent the US is notorious for this. In those two countries we definitely do not recommend ordering more than the duty free allowance.
Duty free cigar coupon codes
Duty free shop, regularly offer coupon codes for cigars and bulk discounts. You can find the latest coupon codes here.
Please click the Google + button if you found this guide useful.
It helps me out a lot, I appreciate it. Thanks!
Check out the other tobacco related price comparison and shopping guides:
Last updated: 2016-08-07
Get informed, save money,