Premium Handmade Cigars vs. Mass Market, Machine Made Smokes

Those Phillies, Garcia Vega and even Middleton cigars may have been the first cigar you have ever smoked, but most people who have had a taste of what a premium cigar taste likes, burns like and smokes like would never consider going back… right?

Not according to the numbers. While Premium Cigars rose 7% from 2010 to 2011, the mere 281 million Premium Cigars imported into the United States is nothing compared to what the industry refers to Mass Market, Machine Made, Popular Priced or Large Cigars did.

In 2011, just shy of 3 Billion with a “B” of these low cost cigars were imported into the U.S., a growth of a whopping 65% over the 2010 numbers. These low priced, machine made cigars that you might not even consider to smoke again made up a monumental 93% of the total cigar smoking consumption. That leaves Premium Cigar smokers sharing the remaining 7% with its thousands of brands and choices. Why has this happened?

With the new Federal S-Ship tax on cigars, added to that the slowdown in the economy, the job crisis; the high price of gasoline that caused the rising cost of shipping and this was a sign of what was to come…the rising cost of Premium cigars. Have people stepped down from Premium to Machine Made, from Quality to Mass Market, from good cigars to cheap smokes?

You read the numbers and decide. 281 million handmade premium cigars with a 7% growth vs. 3 Billion with a “B” machine made with a 65% growth.

Personally, I’d choose to smoke less before I’d smoke worse, but that’s me. How about you?