Tobacco Import Laws

Written by calla hummel
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Tobacco Import Laws
Different types of tobacco products carry different duties (cigarette image by Bartlomiej Nowak from

Tobacco has a complicated relationship with U.S. society and economy, having once been a cornerstone of the national economy and now frequently attacked and regulated as a carcinogen that endangers and kills millions of Americans. Tobacco imports have their own set of regulations, and their own chapter in the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule.


If you are entering the U.S., you are allowed to bring up to 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or two kilograms of tobacco without paying import duties. You can bring in more, but you will have to pay at customs. U.S. law prohibits any imports of Cuban cigars, even if they were purchased in a different country or are brought in by a foreign national.

Import Regulations

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau states that there is no federal law against importing tobacco products for personal use by buying them on the Internet and having them shipped to the U.S. However, private individuals must pay the same duties assessed on tobacco products imported commercially. Similarly, any person involved in commercially importing tobacco products must first obtain a permit from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.


Unmanufactured tobacco can be imported duty-free from any country, unless it will be used in products other than cigarettes, in which case it can be charged a 23 cent duty per kilogram. Partially processed tobacco blends carry a £3.50 per kilogram duty. Cigars, cigarillos and cigarettes start at a duty of £1.20 per kilogram plus 4.7 per cent if each unit is valued at less than 15 cents, and the charge increases depending on estimated value. Clove cigarettes are assessed a 41.7 cents per kilogram plus 0.9% of estimated value. Pipe and roll-your-own tobacco carries a 32.8 cents-per-kilogram duty.

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