Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 2

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24 tobaccoasia / Issue 2, 2016 May / June) By Eric Piras Cigars: Made in Asia China - Great Wall Cigar factory Even though nowadays the anti-smoking regula- tions somewhat dampen the aficionados' enthusi- asm and affect consumption, the growing Asian middle class is still eyeing luxury brands and west- ern products and is naturally becoming interested in cigars and cigarillos. With a long historical presence and a strong re- tail network in the region, Habanos and Davidoff still dominate the market while newcomers from other production areas such as Honduras and Nicaragua are steadily carving out their own space, especially in Asian countries where affordable hand-made ci- gars in bundles are sought after, mostly for smok- ers converting from cigarettes who smoke a few cigars a day. It is therefore easy to forget or ignore, but we also have a strong culture of tobacco growing and cigar or cigarette making closer to home. Though less well known than the brands born on the South American continent, three main countries are pro- ducing cigars in Asia: the Philippines, Indonesia, and China. The historical tobacco-growing culture and high import taxes have favored a few manufactur- ing companies in the Philippines and Indonesia, and in these countries, cigar consumption is large- ly synonymous with local brands, for both hand- made and machine-made cigars. Meanwhile in China, the cigar adventure – or, dare we say, "the cigar revolution" – has already started. In the Philippines Tobacco was introduced to the Philippines by the Spanish conquistadores when back in 1592, the galleon San Clemente brought in 50 kilograms of Cuban tobacco seeds. Philippine-made cigars, also known as Manila cigars, were being celebrated in Europe's smoking salons as early as the 17th century. The tobacco assumed the proportions of an industry around 1780 and became a monopoly from 1780 to 1881. One of the companies cre- ated at the time of the abolition was the Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas S.A. also known The largest cigar market growth in the last 10 years (in terms of value) has been in Asia, with China being the fastest growing country for consumption. Tabaqueria - Independencia 1898 coronas

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