There’s one way to avoid the United Arab Emirates’ new 100 percent VAT tax on cigars and other tobacco products: buy them on the way out.

The new VAT went into effect on Sunday, Oct. 1, part of a sin tax movement that tacked on a 50 percent VAT to the price of sodas, while tobacco products and energy drinks get hit with a 100 percent VAT. It’s the first time in the UAE’s 46-year history that such a tax has been implemented, and is effectively doubling the price of premium cigars in the region.

According to a statement from Dubai Duty Free that was published by TheNational.aedeparting passengers will be exempt from paying the tax on tobacco products, though it will remain on sodas and energy drinks.

Arriving passengers will still be subject to the tax and current customs rules.


Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.