Cigarettes and other tobacco products are prohibited from being sent through the U.S. Postal Service and commercial shipping companies. Read on to learn about the laws regarding the shipping of cigarettes.
By virtue of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, which was signed into law in 2010, it is illegal to send out packages containing cigarettes and/or other tobacco products via the USPS or commercial parcel service.
The act aims to regulate the sale of tobacco products online or by mail-order and keep minors from getting their hands on cigarettes, as well as to ensure that the sales of cigarettes are taxed according to state and federal regulations,
Concealing cigarettes and other tobacco products in shipments via the USPS or private parcel companies is considered a federal crime and is punishable by imprisonment and fines. Any tobacco products that are deposited into the mail can be seized, and punishment imposed on the businesses that mailed them.
Some shipments are exempt from the act, such as those mailed in Alaska or Hawaii, and shipments between verified and authorized businesses for business purposes.
Only companies with existing permits to transport tobacco products are allowed to ship cigarettes via the USPS. These companies should also provide documents and affix stamps to the outside of the package as proof that appropriate excise taxes have been paid. Recipients should also have the proper license or authorization to receive such packages.
Most commercial shipping companies also ask for the same requirements before allowing any package known to contain cigarettes and other tobacco products to be transported via their services.