Well, although you cannot smoke cigarettes on a plane, you can still take them in your hand luggage and in your checked bags. The same is true of cigars, pipe/rolling tobacco, chewing tobacco and other types of smokeless tobacco.
You can take cigarettes on a plane and there is no restriction on the amount of cigarettes or tobacco you can carry with you as far as airport security and airline regulations are concerned. There is a difference between flying domestically and international though as Customs restrictions will apply when flying overseas.
If you are flying on a domestic flight then you have nothing to worry about. However, if you are flying internationally, then you need to bear in mind that there may be restrictions on the amount of tobacco related products you can take into, or back into, the country with you. See the section below on Customs restrictions for various countries.
It goes without saying, or at least it should, that under no circumstances should you even consider taking any other substances that you may smoke of an illegal nature on a flight with you.
If you will be flying out of a UK airport you may find my article “Can you smoke in UK and Irish airports? A full list of airport smoking areas” of interest.
Cigarettes in carry on bag
You are permitted to carry cigarettes through airport security and onto a plane in your carry on bags.
This is a reply from the AskTSA service on Twitter confirming that cigarettes can be taken on a plane in carry on bags:
Cigarettes in checked bags
You are permitted to carry cigarettes on a plane in your checked baggage.
This is the TSA’s reply to a passenger asking if it is allowed to take cigarettes in checked bags:
How many cigarettes can you take on a plane?
When traveling domestically within the US there are no restrictions on the number of cigarettes you can carry in either your carry on or your checked baggage.
Customs allowances for cigarettes
If traveling internationally you must consider what the customs restrictions may be on taking cigarettes into another country. Most countries give a duty free allowance but anything over that allowance is likely to be confiscated or you will have to pay duty on them.
All of the following relate to passengers of 18 years of age or older. You should check on the local authorities website to ensure this hasn’t changed.
If flying into (or returning to) the US then Customs and Border Protection limits the number of cigarettes you can bring into the country from most foreign countries to 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigars. But you can bring up to 1,000 cigarettes (five cartons) into the country from a few islands ie. the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands.
If flying in to the UK then you can bring:
- 200 cigarettes or
- 50 cigars or
- 100 cigarillos or
- 250g of tobacco
Note: As the UK is no longer part of the European Union customs restrictions apply when traveling into the UK from a country within the EU.
- 200 cigarettes or
- 50 cigars or
- 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco or
- 200 tobacco sticks (whatever they are?)
Australia is more restrictive than many countries as you can only take 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco into the country with you.
Giving the full cigarette allowances for every country in the world is obviously beyond the scope of this article. I suggest you do a search online to find out the limits elsewhere.
What smoking related products can you take?
Lighters and matches
You can take a lighter or safety matches in your carry on or on your person, generally, but not in your checked bags. See my full article for full details on what lighters you can and cannot take – Can you take a lighter on a plane?
These must go in your checked bags as they are classed as sharp objects. if you attempt to take them through the security checkpoint it is likely that they will be confiscated by the security agent.
Yes you can take your pipes on a plane but obviously you cannot light them, which will probably be a relief to those sitting close.
You can take e-cigarettes and other vaping devices in the aircraft’s cabin with you either in your carry on, in your purse or your pocket. You can read the full regulations, which are quite complicated due to them using lithium batteries, here – Can you vape on a plane?
Other airport security articles
If you found this “Can you take cigarettes on a plane?” useful then you may also wish to read:
Can you bring an open pack of cigarettes on a plane?
You can bring an open pack of cigarettes in your carry on, in your pocket, in your purse or even in your checked bags. You are not permitted to smoke them though, of course.
Can you take cigarettes and lighter on a plane?
You can take as many cigarettes as you wish but you are restricted to two disposable or a zippo lighter without fuel.
What happens if you smoke on a plane?
If you are caught smoking on a flight you can be fined up to US$4000 at the very least and perhaps be arrested and banned from flying on that airline again.
Can pilots smoke in the cockpit?
Pilots and crew are included in the universal no smoking rules during a flight.