While we as consumers only see a price tag, your simple purchase of a cigar goes a long way to provide for many peoples families. From the sales and support staff of a company here in the states, to literally thousands of people in the countries of origin, every cigar you purchase adds up to make a dramatic difference in the lives of the people that support the brand.
Cigar Producing Countries Are Very Poor
Honduras and Nicaragua are some of the poorest countries in the world, with one estimate putting 73.6% of the population of Honduras below the poverty line whereas in Nicaragua 42.5% of the population lives below the poverty line. The average salary in Nicaragua is just $210 USD (as of 2022) and the average salary in Honduras was $600 USD.
Cigar Countries Education Systems
Not only are these counties poor, but they also have a poor education system. The literacy rate is below average with only 78% of adults being literate in Nicaragua and 88% of adults in Honduras. While education is provided for free in these countries, many times children are instead forced to work to help provide for their families.
How Cigar Companies Are Making A Difference
Working in a cigar factory is a highly sought after job in these counties. Typically, it takes over 300 people in order to get a cigar in a consumer’s hands. Not only do these jobs pay well, they also provide other benefits as well. Companies provide healthcare, financing assistance for homes and transportation, and education (and educational supplies) for workers and their families. Having these well paying jobs allows the children to stay in school longer and some companies go so far as to provide college scholarships as well.
Its Not Just Cigars
Not only do the cigar companies bring in well paying jobs, they also help to create other business opportunities as well. Tourism brings in the opportunity for other businesses such as hotels and restaurants to flourish. Foreign investment in these areas also creates opportunity, (look at Santiago, Dominican Republic). Companies to support the cigar industry (such as shipping companies, band printing etc) also pop up and employ workers.
Here In The United States
A 2021 study by the FDA put the value of the US cigar industry at 13 billion dollars, with a large portion (37-47%) of this coming from flavored cigars. This is extremely important as it relates to proposed regulation by the FDA that seeks to eliminate flavored cigars. Studies are estimating that a proposed ban on flavored cigars would cost almost $4 Billion dollars in sales revenue, eliminating over 16,000 jobs in the United States alone. This proposed regulation would eliminate over $750 million dollars of tax revenue between the local, state and federal levels.