Through May, this year’s imports of premium cigars to the U.S. continued to outpace last year’s record year of imports, but May’s import figures were actually lower than last year.

According to a report from the Cigar Association of America (CAA), an industry trade group, the U.S. has imported an estimated 176.94 million premium cigars from January 2022-May 2022, an increase of 3.2 percent or 5.43 million more cigars. Most of this increase is due to Nicaragua, which has exported 97.92 million premium cigars to the U.S. through May 2022, an increase of 7.95 million compared to the same period in 2021.

The two other major cigar-producing countries that export to the U.S.—the Dominican Republic and Honduras—are both slightly below their 2021 export numbers to the U.S. by 2.21 million and 469,000 cigars respectively.

While the first five months remain strong overall, premium imports were actually down 4.25 percent in May 2022 compared to May 2021.

  • Costa Rica — 288,000 (+98.96 percent)
  • Dominican Republic — 8.45 million (-44.4 percent)
  • Honduras — 7.47 million (+15.04 percent)
  • Nicaragua — 21.09 million (+3.68 percent)
  • Philipines — 151,000 (-18.54 percent)

CAA calculates these numbers based on both the import numbers provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Customs Services and information from cigar companies themselves. The trade group’s numbers are not exact because of reporting differences; it estimates how many “large cigars” were actually “premium cigars.” The differences between the two are that there are some machine-made cigars that meet the U.S. definition of a “large cigar,” though those cigars would not be considered premium cigars by most people.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.