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Posted February 11, 2005 by publisher in Cuban Cigars

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AP Latin America

Aficionados of Cuba’s famous hand-rolled cigars will be able to puff away without fear of running afoul of new anti-smoking laws during the island’s annual cigar festival, organizers said Thursday.
Despite a new law prohibiting smoking in closed public places, permission has been obtained for all venues of the seventh annual Habano Festival from Feb. 21-25, said Manuel Garcia, vice president of Habanos S.A., the firm which markets the island’s cigars abroad. Nearly 1,000 people from more than 50 countries are expected to attend this year’s festival.

Cuban cigars, considered by many to be the world’s best, are an important export worth about $300 million annually.

The ban on smoking in theaters, schools, and other public places took effect Monday as the Cuban government acknowledged the health risk of tobacco.

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