Can You Take Cigars on a Plane? TSA Cigar Rules (2023)

Aug, 22, 2023
cigars lying on wooden table

​Cigars are one of society’s treasures these days. There are plenty of reasons you may want to pack some stogies in your bag, and it’s good to know the rules. Can you bring cigars on a plane?

I’ve enjoyed cigars all around the world. From smoking Cuban cigars in factories in Havana to rolling how to roll them in Mexico, I truly enjoy fine cigars.

​Maybe you’re celebrating someone getting married or having a baby. Maybe you’re heading out on vacation. Maybe you’re just a businessperson who doubles as a cigar enthusiast.

Regardless of the reason you need to bring cigars onboard a plane, it’s a good thing to know the rules. This post will dive into everything to know about bringing cigars on a plane, including the TSA regulations about both carry-on luggage and checked baggage.

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Can You Bring Cigars on a Plane in the USA?

Yes, you can bring cigars on a plane in the USA. You just need to obey the rules and regulations about air travel with cigars. As far as TSA is concerned, cigar aficionados are more than welcome to bring their cigars through airport security and onboard their plane.

There are some caveats to this. Firstly, TSA only has jurisdiction in the United States. The story for international flights originating in other countries may be different.

Secondly, bringing too many cigars might cause you to be inspected further. While every passenger is subject to further investigation, carrying massive amounts of any one thing isn’t a very good idea. 

Thirdly, it’s important to recognize that U.S. Customs and TSA are very different agencies, and just because you can bring something on a plane doesn’t mean you can keep it when you land. Thankfully, this doesn’t matter on domestic flights within the USA. As long as you follow the rules and fly domestically, your precious cigar cargo will be safe.

Cigars in Checked Baggage in the United States

Cigars are permitted in checked baggage in the United States. Packing items in your checked bag is a great idea if you want a quicker trip through the airport security checkpoint. 

Checked baggage is notoriously handled roughly. The best way to pack cigars in a checked bag is in a hard case, like a cigar box, and then wrapped in bubble wrap. As long as you are permitted to have cigars, they will not be confiscated from your checked baggage at any point.

Cigars in Carry-on Baggage in the United States

Cigars are also permitted in carry-on bags in the United States. Not everyone checks a bag, and you can rest assured that your precious cigars are allowed in your backpack or carry-on, too. There are no specific requirements to bring cigars on a plane in your carry-on.

The only catch is that carry-on bags have to go through security. While the general guidelines state that cigars are permitted through security, you may be subject to extra screening if you bring them in your carry-on bag.

two dark brown cuban cigars

Can You Bring Cigars on International Flights?

You can bring cigars on international flights that originate in the United States. But this doesn’t mean that you can keep them when you land! Every different country has different rules about tobacco, you are always subject to the rules of your destination country.

You obey the security rules of the country you board in, and the customs rules of the country you land in. It is your responsibility to determine whether your destination country has specific guidelines about importing cigars. In most cases, there are no rules as long as they are for personal consumption and are not subject to an embargo, like Cuban cigars in the United States.

If you are flying from the United States to Mexico, you’ll be searched by the Transportation Security Administration on your way out and subject to Customs in Mexico. You’d then be subject to any specific rules or quantity limits that Mexico has about importing cigars into the country after passing through Mexican border protection.

Is There a Limit to the Number of Cigars You Can Fly With?

Technically, there is no limit to the number of cigars you can fly with in the USA. However, the final decision always rests in the hands of a TSA officer. 

The good news is that if you only have a few cigars, or even one box, the odds of being stopped in any way are slim. However, if you have hand luggage stuffed with boxes of cigars, you might expect higher scrutiny. TSA is just trying to keep the country safe, and large amounts of just about anything look very suspicious.

As a general rule, I’d bring no more than a box of cigars in my bag.

There are very few reasons you’d ever need more than this for a trip, and packing multiple boxes implies they’re not for personal use.

What About Cigar Accessories and Other Tobacco Products?

Cigars aren’t the only tobacco product you might want to take on a plane! From other types of tobacco to essential tools to smoke them, there are plenty of other things to pack. Here’s what to know about flying with cigar accessories on a plane.

a box of cigarettes and a lighter on a table

Can You Bring a Cigar Cutter on a Plane?

You can bring a cigar cutter on a plane in the U.S., in both your carry-on and checked baggage. However, there is a good chance that you’ll still have it confiscated at the security checkpoint. While they are technically allowed, different types of cigar cutters pose a higher risk than others on a plane.

After all, cigar cutters are sharp objects. The final decision rests with the TSA agent that is on duty searching your bags.

You’ll never have an issue packing cigar cutters in checked baggage. One of the best tips I can offer is to pack your cigar cutter in your checked bag, regardless of what the TSA rules say about cigar cutters in carry-ons. If you do decide to pack one in your carry-on item, opt for a cheap cutter that you’re fine with losing.

Can You Bring a Lighter on a Plane?

You can bring a lighter on a plane, but there are rules as to what kind. While torch lighters are wonderful, TSA doesn’t love them. You can’t bring a torch lighter on a plane, regardless of where you pack it.

You can bring Zippo lighters on an airplane, but if they have fuel, they must be in your carry-on baggage or personal item. If the lighter has no fuel, it can be packed in your checked baggage.

Unless you have a special lighter, I recommend just buying one at your destination or packing a cheap lighter from a convenience store. You can also bring matches onboard if you don’t want to risk losing your lighter. But it is important to remember that passengers are limited to a single box of safety matches, which must be packed in your carry-on luggage or personal item.

Can You Bring Cigarettes on a Plane?

You can absolutely bring cigarettes on a plane in the United States. Cigarettes are welcome in both checked bags and carry-on bags. Like cigars, there is no limit to the number of cigarettes you can bring onboard, but higher quantities might subject you to higher scrutiny. 

Can You Bring a Pipe on a Plane?

You can bring a pipe on a plane in the United States, just like cigars and cigarettes. Pipes and pipe tobacco can be packed in either your carry-on or checked baggage. Your best bet is to place the pipe in a plastic bag or travel case, as the residue in the bowl of a pipe can damage other things in your luggage.

dark cuban cigars in box lot

Pack Your Cigars in a Travel Humidor

Avid cigar smokers know the importance of keeping cigars at the right humidity level. Temperature changes and humidity changes can really ruin cigars, even on short trips. Packing your favorite cigars in a sturdy travel humidor is one of the best ways to keep them in good shape. 

Good cigar travel cases have airtight seals and cedar strips that retain moisture and regulate temperature. Also known as a cigar caddy, a cigar case is an affordable investment to protect your valuable cigars on your next trip.

​One of the most helpful tips I can offer is to buy travel humidor packs from Amazon before traveling. A small Boveda pack can keep your cigars in perfect condition. 

They’re also so much easier to use than traditional humidity regulation methods! You can simply place one in your cigar travel case, and it will protect all your cigars from temperature fluctuations. If you are a frequent flyer, this is a must-purchase!

Best Travel Cigar Humidors and Humidity Packs to Buy on Amazon

1. Travel Size Boveda Humidity Packs

2. Double Layer Spanish Cedar Travel Cigar Box

3. Mrs. Brog Airtight and Waterproof Travel Humidor

4. Brown Leather Travel Humidor

5. Portable Cylindrical Cigar Case with Humidity Control

Thanks for reading my post about bringing cigars on a plane. Hopefully, this post answered any questions you have about using cell phones while flying. If you have any questions or thoughts, drop a comment below.



Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.

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Meet The Author - Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.