Can You Bring Cigarettes On a Plane? TSA & Import Rules

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The TSA is responsible for the security of your flight and their officers are the people who will scan and check your luggage.

The items that they prohibit from planes tend to be related to security threats.

Hence liquids are restricted because they could be liquid explosives.

And weapons and heavy objects are banned because they could be used to attempt to gain control of the plane.

Cigarettes don’t fall in to either of these categories. So can you bring cigarettes on a plane?

Let’s have a look at the rules.

TSA Cigarettes Rules

Here is what the transportation security administration has to say about cigarettes from their website:

Can You Bring Cigarettes In Your Carry-On Luggage?

Yes, you can bring cigarettes in your carry on but the final decision rests with the TSA officer whether your cigarettes are allowed through the checkpoint. You should not have any problems.

Can You Bring Cigarettes In Your Checked Baggage?

Yes, you can bring cigarettes in checked baggage. Your luggage will be scanned and potentially searched after you have checked it, but the TSA allows cartons on cigarettes in checked bags. Cigarettes are not seen as a security threat.

You can also bring tobacco products like pipe tobacco or chewing tobacco:

Or cigars:

How Many Cigarettes Can You Take On an Airplane?

So you are allowed to bring cigarettes on a plane but is there a maximum amount you can pack?

The TSA rules don’t specify a maximum amount of cigarettes that you are allowed to bring.

That’s because as far as the TSA is concerned there is no maximum amount. You can bring cartons of cigarettes and the TSA agents won’t blink an eye.

Here is Alice seeking clarification from the @AskTSA service on Twitter:

Cigarettes are allowed in carry-on bags with no quantity limitations or packing requirements.

@AskTSA via Twitter

But that’s not the entire story…

There is no TSA limit to the number of cigarettes you can bring for domestic travel. If you are not flying internationally you can pack all the cigarettes that you want.

If you are flying internationally it’s not the TSA that you need to worry about. You need to consider the customs rules of your destination country.

Customs Laws for Importing Cigarettes

If you are a US resident returning from an international trip U.S. Customs and Border Protection will allow you to bring 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars with you on your return.

Other countries around the world have similar restrictions.

You need to declare your cigarettes upon landing and if you are found to have brought more than the limit you may receive a fine or need to pay tax.

Here are the rules about importing cigarettes from the top ten destination countries.

CountryDuty Free Import Allowance
FranceIf Arriving From Another E.U. Country: 800 cigarettes; 400 cigarillos; 200 cigars; 1 kilogram of pipe or cigarette tobacco.
If Arriving From Outwith the European Union: 200 cigarettes; or 100 cigarillos (max. 3 grams each); or 50 cigars; or 250 grams of smoking tobacco; or a proportional mix of these products.
SpainIf Arriving From Another E.U. Country: 800 cigarettes; 400 cigarillos; 200 cigars; 1 kilogram of pipe or cigarette tobacco.
If Arriving From Outwith the European Union: 200 cigarettes; or 100 cigarillos (max. 3 grams each); or 50 cigars; or 250 grams of smoking tobacco; or a proportional mix of these products.
United States“200 cigarettes, a reasonable amount of tobacco and 100 cigars. For arrivals from the US Virgin Islands, Guam or American Samoa: 1000 cigarettes, not more than 200 of which may be acquired elsewhere than in these islands.”
China“Max. 400 cigarettes, 100 cigars and 500 grams of tobacco.”
ItalyIf Arriving From Another E.U. Country: 800 cigarettes; 400 cigarillos; 200 cigars; 1 kilogram of pipe or cigarette tobacco.
If Arriving From Outwith the European Union: 200 cigarettes; or 100 cigarillos (max. 3 grams each); or 50 cigars; or 250 grams of smoking tobacco; or a proportional mix of these products.
Turkey“for travelers over 18 years of age):
200 cigarettes and 50 cigars and 200 grams of tobacco and
200 cigarette papers or 200 grams pipe tobacco or 200 grams chewing tobacco or 200 grams tobacco for nargileh or 50 grams snuff.”
Mexico“(only for persons over 18 years of age:) 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 200 grams of pipe tobacco”
GermanyIf Arriving From Another E.U. Country: 800 cigarettes; 400 cigarillos; 200 cigars; 1 kilogram of pipe or cigarette tobacco.
If Arriving From Outwith the European Union: 200 cigarettes; or 100 cigarillos (max. 3 grams each); or 50 cigars; or 250 grams of smoking tobacco; or a proportional mix of these products.
Thailand“200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco or equal weight of cigars”
United KingdomIf Arriving From Another E.U. Country: 800 cigarettes; 400 cigarillos; 200 cigars; 1 kilogram of pipe or cigarette tobacco.
If Arriving From Outwith the European Union: 200 cigarettes; or 100 cigarillos (max. 3 grams each); or 50 cigars; or 250 grams of smoking tobacco; or a proportional mix of these products.

Related Rules About Tobacco Accessories

  • Cigarette Lighters – You can take one cigarette lighter on a plane in carry-on luggage. You can’t bring a lighter in checked luggage unless it’s in a properly enclosed in a DOT approved case. Arc lighters or plasma lighters are not permitted.
  • Matches – You are permitted one packet of safety matches on your person. Strike-anywhere matches are not permitted in carry-on or checked bags.
  • Vaping Devices – You can bring vape pens or other vaping devices in hand luggage but not in checked luggage because of the lithium batteries. Vape juice should be less than 3.4 oz and packed in your plastic liquids bag.
  • Tobacco Pipes – Pipes are allowed in carry-on and checked luggage.
  • Cigar Cutters – These are sharp and could be used as a weapon so they are permitted in checked luggage only.

The Verdict

You can pack cigarettes in your carry-on or your checked bags.

If you are flying domestic then you don’t need to worry about quantities.

If you are flying internationally you need to check how many cigarettes you are permitted to bring into the country. Don’t exceed the import limit to avoid fines or taxes.

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