Bringing Tobacco Into Canada

Amounts of tobacco allowed through Canadian customs

If you're a Canadian traveling abroad and discover a new kind of pipe tobacco you know your grandfather would like, can you bring it home with you and get it through customs? 

There are some specific rules about how much and who can bring tobacco into Canada. It's wise to be familiar with these rules before you get to the customs line; otherwise, your wish of bringing tobacco products home with you could go up in smoke.

Returning Canadians, visitors to Canada, and people moving to settle in Canada are allowed to bring a limited amount of tobacco into Canada with certain restrictions. You must be over the age of 18 for any of these rules to apply, however, and you can only bring tobacco products for your own personal use.

A special duty applies to cigarettes, tobacco sticks or loose tobacco unless they are marked with an excise tax stamp reading "DUTY PAID CANADA DROIT ACQUITTÉ" (droite acquitté is French for "duty paid"). Canadian-made products sold at duty-free shops are marked this way.

Here are the specific limits and kinds of tobacco products that a Canadian can bring through customs under his or her personal exemption (the personal exemption allows Canadians to bring goods of a certain value into the country duty- and tax-free).

  • 200 cigarettes
  • 50 cigars
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco
  • 200 tobacco sticks

These limits apply to tobacco products as long as they accompany the person bringing them into Canada (in other words, you can't ship or import the tobacco separately like you can with some other goods). If you bring in more than allowed under your personal exemption, you'll pay any applicable duty on the excess amount.

How to Report Tobacco Products at Customs

The amount you claim for your personal exemption must be reported in Canadian dollars. If you aren't sure of their value, you can use a foreign currency exchange converter, and enter the amount you paid for the items (keep those receipts) and the currency used. 

And an important note for Canadian citizens and temporary residents: the length of time you've been out of the country determines what you're allowed to claim as your personal exemption. If it's been less than 48 hours, your tobacco products will be subject to the usual duties and taxes.

Try to have any tobacco products readily available when you arrive at the country border. Digging through your luggage to find those cigars or cigarettes will only make the process take longer. Try not to forget the emergency pack of cigarettes you have stashed in your pocket; you have to declare all tobacco products, even open packages. 

Taking Tobacco to Other Countries

Canadians traveling to other countries should become familiar with the rules about bringing Canadian tobacco products with them before they depart. The rules can vary considerably from one country to the next (even for Canada's neighbors to the south).