Shipping Tobacco in Europe and Internationally

How to ship tobacco products nationally and internationally

Tobacco is one of the trickiest items to send overseas. Find out everything you need to know about shipping tobacco in the UK, Europe or internationally, whether as an individual or a business. Before booking the shipping service, check the rules and regulations for sending tobacco by post or courier.

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Regulations on shipping tobacco for companies in 2023

  • Shipping tobacco products within the EU

    Licensed tobacco manufacturers and retailers can legally ship tobacco as freight if they have a contract with authorised carriers. VAT and excise duty must be paid before these goods are sent to the destination country.

  • Shipping tobacco products outside the EU

    European companies can ship tobacco products internationally to recipients based in non-EU countries only if they have an official license, pay VAT, excise duties, and conclude relevant agreements with authorised courier services. Exporting tobacco products is a complex process, so small businesses tend to avoid shipping internationally.

Regulations on sending tobacco in the mail in 2023

  • Shipping tobacco products within the EU

    It is important to distinguish between sending tobacco in the mail and travelling with tobacco. While carrying tobacco for personal use is possible, shipping tobacco between individuals is not permitted in the EU. When sending tobacco products to each other, individuals do so at their own risk.

  • Shipping tobacco products outside the EU

    European citizens can receive parcels containing small quantities of tobacco products (50 cigarettes, or 25 cigarillos of a maximum weight of three grams each, or 10 cigars, or 50 grams of smoking tobacco) from non-EU countries under the EU Council Directive 2006/79/EC.

    However, shipping any quantity of tobacco between individuals is still prohibited by most courier companies. When choosing to send tobacco products to private consumers in the mail, individuals do so at their own risk.

    The same rule applies to tobacco shipments sent to and from the UK after Brexit.


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How to pack small quantities of tobacco products for shipping

When shipping tobacco internationally, you should make sure that you know how to properly prepare your package for transport. Products such as cigars, pipe tobacco, and cigarillos must always be sent in their original sealed packaging.

  1. Place the tobacco inside a plastic bag to avoid contact with water.
  2. Use several layers of bubble wrap for cushioning. If you are shipping tobacco together with other items, like clothes, you can use them as cushioning.
  3. Prepare a sturdy cardboard box. Fill it with cushioning materials, then place the cigarette packs and all other items in the box.
  4. Seal the box.


FAQ on sending tobacco by post or courier

Can I ship tobacco internationally with every courier company?

No, each courier company has its own rules regarding shipments with restricted and prohibited items. For example, DHL, FedEx, TNT and UPS will not ship parcels that contain tobacco products within the content.
Before booking any delivery service, we recommend checking the rules of the designated courier for your route. When shipping with Eurosender, please know that these items are not allowed when booking the Express or Priority shipping services. The courier may refuse to collect the parcel if it contains prohibited items such as tobacco. If you need further assistance, you can reach us by chat, phone or email before shipping to discuss your options further.

Is it illegal to send tobacco in the mail?

The answer depends on the status of tobacco products at your specific location. Before sending tobacco by post or courier, we recommend checking all the regulations that apply in your case to avoid any problems.
Bear in mind that there is always a risk of confiscation by customs officers if you decide to send tobacco internationally in the mail or by courier. Read more about how the customs procedures work.

Can I post tobacco to the UK from Spain, Belgium or other EU countries?

Even though sending tobacco internationally by post or courier is not allowed, many people still do so at their own risk since tobacco is a popular gift idea. Before booking any shipping service, make sure to check the local rules and quantity limitations that apply.

What are the limits for individuals carrying tobacco within the EU?

The EU limits for travelling with tobacco products are as follows:
  • Cigarettes: 800
  • Cigarillos (cigars weighing max 3 g each): 400
  • Cigars: 200
  • Smoking tobacco: 1 kg
  • 250 g of tobacco content (in different forms)
It is not recommended to exceed these indicative levels as the traveller will need to prove that the goods are intended for personal use.

What are the allowances when carrying tobacco to the UK for personal use?

  • 200 cigarettes or
  • 100 cigarillos or
  • 50 cigars or
  • 250 g loose tobacco or
  • 200 sticks of tobacco for electronic heated tobacco devices
Bear in mind that you may have to pay import VAT, customs duty and excise duty on the tobacco you declare.

Is there insurance for shipping tobacco internationally?

Insurance applies only when licensed companies ship tobacco internationally, provided they have all the necessary documents and organise the delivery through authorised carriers.
For C2C shipments, there is no insurance coverage for tobacco products shipped internationally, as they can only be mailed at the sender’s own risk. If the courier finds prohibited items in your shipment, such as tobacco, he may refuse collection, and you will not be entitled to request a refund.

Take these guidelines into consideration when shipping tobacco internationally. Nevertheless, please consider that following them does not guarantee that the courier company will transport your parcel without restriction. If you decide to send tobacco by mail or courier, Eurosender will not be held responsible for any damages caused by the transport of your shipment.


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Please make sure your shipment does not include restricted or prohibited items, including tobacco products.