Cigarettes fall into the list of items USPS restricts or prohibits, but you can ship them in certain situations. Before you go stuffing cartons into a box or envelope, read on to see if USPS will allow you to ship cigarettes.
You Can Only Ship Cigarettes with USPS in Limited Circumstances
Unfortunately, while USPS allows you to ship cigarettes, it’s not as easy as sending a couple of packs to your buddy in a different state. USPS only allows for the domestic shipment of cigarettes in extremely limited situations.
The circumstances in which USPS will allow you to send cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are as follows:
- Intra-Alaskan and intra-Hawaiian shipments
- Business/regulatory purposes
- Small-quantity “gift” shipments to individuals
- Individual returns of an unacceptable tobacco product to a manufacturer
Pro Tip: If your circumstances allow you to ship cigarettes, you’ll still need approval from a USPS worker at the Post Office. This is because the Postal Service employee needs to verify that your recipient is of legal age to receive the shipment (and that you’re of legal age to send it).
Shipping Cigarettes to an APO/FPO/DPO
When shipping to APO/FPO/DPO locations in foreign countries, USPS treats packages as domestic mail. So, you can still send your cigarettes with any USPS service, as long as you meet the strict circumstances we listed above.
With that said, shipments are still subject to every foreign country’s prohibitions and restrictions. To find out if a particular country allows for incoming cigarettes and smokeless tobacco shipments, check out the USPS Individual Country Listings.
Cigars are Totally Fair Game
Luckily, USPS isn’t as strict when it comes to sending cigars. In fact, there aren’t any restrictions here at all; cigars can be sent via any USPS service without any written permission required! You can also ship cigars to any state within the United States and its territories, but not internationally.
What About FedEx or UPS?
Interestingly, both FedEx and UPS prohibit cigarette and smokeless tobacco shipments altogether. UPS and FedEx are typically more lenient on certain items, since neither are a government agency like USPS is. For example, you can ship ammo with UPS, but not with USPS. However, both UPS and FedEx draw a strict line when it comes to cigarettes. So, if you want to ship them, you can only use USPS—just make sure you meet the rules and regulations!
Does Your Business Manufacture or Sell Cigarettes?
If you need to ship cigarettes for business purposes, then you’re in luck. You can do that with USPS, but you’ll need to go through a stringent approval process. This includes completing an application letter requesting to mail under the business/regulatory purposes exception, providing the applicable state and federal licenses, and more.
Check out the USPS website: 472 Mailability for more information on how to obtain permission from the Postal Service to send and receive cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.