woman smoking a cigarette

Smoking isn’t as common as it used to be. I remember going on many flights when I was younger, and so many people were smoking on board airplanes.

Do you remember smoking and non-smoking sections on the plane? I certainly do. It was actually quite common for passengers and even pilots to smoke on board the flight. Yes, I know, pilots actually smoked on the plane!

Knowing what I know now about how the airplane ventilation systems work, I can’t believe that was ever allowed. The second-hand smoke and recirculated air through the cabin were just disgusting. Not to mention the huge fire hazard!

The law today says that we can’t smoke on board a plane. But what about bringing cigarettes on board without smoking them?

Can you bring cigarettes on board a plane?

The answer is yes! You should have no problems bringing cigarettes with you on the flight. According to the TSA, cigarettes are permitted. But there are some restrictions which I cover below.

Can you bring an open pack of cigarettes on a plane?

Yes, you can. You are allowed to have cigarettes in your carry on, opened, or not opened- as long as you don’t light them! You can even put them in your pocket if you want to, although it’s probably a better idea to have them in a proper case or still in the carton.

You will notice that most airports now have designated smoking zones and areas for you to grab a smoke before getting on the flight.

Can you bring cigarettes on a plane if you are under 18?

Depending on where you are traveling, many laws state that the minimum age to purchase cigarettes is 18. This is where things get a little tricky. There are so many variables involved.

So according to law, if you’re under the age of 18 you can’t buy cigarettes regardless if you are at the airport or not and therefore can not bring them on the plane. It is also illegal to possess tobacco products if underage. It is also illegal to sell cigarettes to a minor under the age of 18.

So unless you are stealing the cigarettes, lying about your age and don’t get caught, which I really don’t recommend, don’t bother trying. It’s not worth it. I have read so many things online that say it’s ok to do in one place but then illegal in another.

The laws can change at any time in any place, so it’s always best to check with the current laws and airline regulations in your location before considering bringing cigarettes with you on a plane.

Of course, if you are an adult over the age of 18, it shouldn’t be an issue.

How many cigarettes are allowed on an international flight?

This is another question that can have different answers. Yes, you can bring cigarettes on an international flight but how many allowed will depend on where you are traveling to.

Some countries have restrictions on the amounts.  For example, many countries will limit the number of cigarettes to 200.

This is common for many countries, including the USA and Canada. You will notice that customs monitor this by asking right on the customs card you fill out in flight.

Pro tip: Never lie on your customs card! If you get caught at customs with a different amount than reported, you will be fined heavily.

Always check with the customs laws for your destination prior to traveling.

How many packs of cigarettes can you take on a plane?

TSA allows 200 cigarettes as we stated above. As you know, there are typically 20 cigarettes per pack. If that is the case with your packs of cigarettes then you would be able to take 10 packs on a plane or one carton.

This is the case whether you are flying domestically or internationally. If you are flying internationally, you will want to check the laws of your departing country when you come back as well.

Can you bring e-cigarettes or vaping devices on a plane? 

Man vaping

The answer is yes, and no. According to the TSA, you are allowed e-cigarettes and vaping devices in your carry on only. You are not allowed to pack them in your checked luggage bags.

The website says “Battery-powered E-cigarettes, vaporizers, vape pens, atomizers, and electronic nicotine delivery systems may only be carried in the aircraft cabin (in carry-on baggage or on your person)”

You must also remove all electronic cigarette and vaping devices from carry-on bags if checked at the gate or planeside.

You are not allowed to pack your vape or electronic cigarette in your checked luggage primarily due to these devices having batteries. They do not want to risk the batteries catching fire during the flight.

Can you bring a lighter on a plane?

Once again, the answer is yes and no. Yes, you can bring a lighter on a plane in your carry on luggage only providing they are a disposable type like Zippo or BIC. They are also allowed to have fuel in them. But…

Certain lighters such as electronic lighters, arc lighters, torch lighters are prohibited. You are also not allowed to bring extra fuel for the lighters. The amount that is currently in it is what’s allowed.

You are not allowed to pack any sort of lighter in your checked-in luggage bags due to a fire hazard unless they are empty. You are limited to packing 2 empty lighters, and they must be in an approved case. You are also not allowed to pack any sort of lighter fluid or fuel separately.

Can you bring matches on a plane?

Yes, you are allowed to bring matches on board a plane in your carry on luggage as long as they are not strike-anywhere matches. But you are limited to 1 pack. Don’t try to bring more; they will just get confiscated at security checkpoints.

You are never allowed to have matches in your checked-in luggage bags as they are a fire hazard, regardless of the type. 

Strike anywhere matches are prohibited from both carry-on bags and checked luggage at all times.

Can you bring tobacco pipes or cigar cutters on a plane?

Cigar cutters can only be packed in your checked baggage and are prohibited from your carry on bags as they are considered a sharp object. However, tobacco pipes are allowed in both your carry-on bags as well as your checked luggage. 

video #1 Travelonthefly.com

Where do I pack my cigarettes when flying?

As you know, there aren’t any specific restrictions on where your tobacco products need to be when flying. You can pack your cigarettes in your carry-on or your checked bags when flying, whichever is more convenient for you.

Just think through your itinerary and when you might want access to them. You already know you can’t smoke on your flight, but you could during a layover location. And will you want one before you get to your hotel or destination? 

Do cigarettes show up on airport scanners?

Yes, cigarettes do show up on airport scanners as their x-ray scanning can see and classify different types of materials. Organic compounds, like tobacco products, are marked in orange. 

Other objects, like metals, are marked in blue. Metals or other extremely dense materials that block the penetration of the scanner will be flagged. 

Dual Energy Screening is what allows them to do this. The scanners reflect back to the monitor different colors based on the different materials in the objects they are scanning. Those colors are predetermined and classified into categories. This helps the screening agents do their jobs effectively and efficiently

The Consequences of Smoking on a Plane

When you have your vape or cigarettes on you, and you find yourself on a long flight, it may be tempting to try to light one up in the bathroom or vape somewhere else on the plane. Unfortunately, even a small and single incident of this can be enough for a plane to be diverted.

Not only can the plane be diverted, resulting in some angry passengers and delays, you will also be hit with fines from the FAA. International FAA regulations fine as much as $25,000 for smoking fines and distracting crew members. Domestic smoking incidents in plane’s lavatories can result in fines up to $500 per incident.

Smoking or vaping on an airplane may also result in getting arrested upon landing in addition to whatever fines they impose.

A History on In-Flight Smoking

The no-smoking rules were enforced on airplanes almost three decades ago. They first banned smoking on planes that were flying domestic flights that were more than six hours long.

A decade after this, they prohibited smoking on flights between the United States and foreign destinations. This is all due to the discovery that second-hand smoke was then being considered a serious health hazard to passengers. They were previously unaware of the dangers of smoking’s effect on others before this.

In 2002, there was still a handful of airlines that still allowed smoking on the plane for some flights. A further look into the history of smoking in flight will show you that there was even a time in which the airline not only permitted smoking in flight, but also encouraged it!

Airport Smoking Rooms

If you are a smoker, you will find that some airports actually have designated smoking rooms for passengers – this includes e-cigarette smokers as well. The following is a list of airports in the United States that cater to smokers:

However, it should also be noted that there is no guarantee that these airports will remain this way so the days of carefree traveling as a smoker may be numbered.

Hopefully, that cleared the air and answered your questions regarding bringing cigarettes on board a plane.

Thanks for reading!

You may also like: