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Midweek Roundup—Tax Cap Woes, Icelandic Booze, Humana Inc Hating Smokers, and Legal Travel to Cuba

While combing through today’s cigar-related headlines, I realized that it’s been a week since I crammed four stories into one post, so here’s another midweek roundup!

I’ll start with some bad news—remember that proposed cigar tax cap that New York legislators have been mulling over for a few weeks? Well, it’s been pushed to the back burner, according to Cigar Aficionado, and it likely won’t be seen again until 2012. Senate Bill 3410 would’ve limited the New York State tax on cigars to either 75 percent or $1, whichever is lower (right now it’s just at a heavy 75 percent, regardless of how much that is), but unfortunately, the state Assembly has adjourned for the summer.

On a lighter note, if you’re planning on traveling to Iceland, you’ll be able to bring a lot more duty-free booze with you, according to IceNews. Unfortunately, the amount of tobacco you can take is still limited to 200 cigarettes, 250 grams of loose tobacco, or an “equivalent number of cigars,” whatever that means. However, you can now enter Iceland with either 1 liter of spirits, 1 liter of wine, and 6 liters of beer; 3 liters of wine and 6 liters of beer; 1 liter of spirits and 9 liters of beer; 1.5 liters of wine and 9 liters of beer; or just 12 liters of beer.

Back in the states, an insurance company called Humana Inc. has instated a policy banning potential employees in Arizona from using any form of tobacco. Potential hires will have to undergo a urine drug test for nicotine, and if they test positive, they’re automatically barred from employment. For a complete list of reasons why this is outrageous and a blatant attack on personal freedoms, check out Travis’ post on the subject.

Finally, New York Times reporter Michelle Higgins just penned an article entitled “New Ways to Visit Cuba – Legally.” The article mentions new “people-to-people” measures, which allows U.S. citizens who aren’t journalists or students to travel to Cuba as long as they sign up for an authorized travel program (Insight Cuba and Distant Horizons were mentioned). This doesn’t mean that you can bring back a suitcase full of Cohibas, but it does mean that you can see the sights, take in some fine dining, and maybe even smoke a couple of Habanos while you’re there, as long as you don’t tell anybody at customs when you get back.  Anyway, check out Higgins’ article, it’s a good read.

And that does it for today’s roundup. As always, if anyone feels I’ve missed anything, feel free to post it in a comment below.