A few years ago, sanctions against Cuba were eased a bit and Americans found it much easier to get their hands on luxuries such as Cuban cigars. For those who missed it, though, this is no longer the case. New sanctions against the island nation went into effect last month, not only preventing travelers from bringing cigars and other items back from Cuba but also stopping them from buying those items from elsewhere abroad.

Of course, these new sanctions weren't centered solely around cigars. They also affect travel and tourism, potentially impacting people who simply wanted to visit the island (and maybe enjoy a good cigar and some Cuban rum while they're there.) Here's an overview of what all is affected by the new sanctions so you can see if they affect you and any plans you might have.

Cigar Restrictions

The aspect of the new sanctions that are drawing the most attention is the new restriction on buying Cuban cigars. Previously, Americans could bring back up to four boxes of Cuban cigars for personal use when visiting Cuba or any other country that had Cuban cigars available. These four boxes were duty-free, and additional cigars could be brought in and taxed as well. The new sanctions in place eliminate this policy, blocking the import of any Cuban tobacco products by travelers regardless of whether they were bought in Cuba or in other locations.

Cuban Rum Restrictions

In addition to the cigar restrictions, the sanctions also ban the import of Cuban rum or any other Cuban-origin alcohol products. As with the tobacco restriction, this not only applies to items purchased in Cuba but also in other countries that have free trade agreements in place with Cuba. It's worth noting that this does not make it illegal to own previously purchased Cuban rum (or any other material affected by the new sanctions) so long as they were imported legally at the time they were acquired.

Travel Restrictions

One other big aspect of the new sanctions is that they create a "Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List" that lists hotel properties in Cuba where American citizens cannot legally stay. The list will contain any hotel or other property that is owned by or under the control of the Cuban government, select officials within the Cuban government, or close relatives of those officials. This affects potential tourists significantly, as the government holds at least a majority stake in every hotel on the island and controls some of them completely. Travelers to Cuba can still stay in private residences booked through services such as Airbnb, provided that the residences aren't owned by people with government connections. Business travelers going to professional conferences and other meetings, as well as tourists attending performances, workshops, and other events are also unable to travel to the island for those purposes.

Future Sanctions Adjustments

It is unknown at this time whether there will be adjustments to these sanctions in the future, though it is likely that they will be adjusted at some point in the future as the US relationship with Cuba continues to evolve. The extent of such adjustments or whether they will restore some of the previous import and travel rights remains to be seen, of course.

Have you ever had Cuban cigars or rum? Did you buy them while the previous sanctions allowed for easier import of Cuban products by travelers?