Import Prohibition on Tobacco

From 1st July 2019, tobacco will become a prohibited import. Importers will be required to have a permit for certain tobacco products, including cigarettes, but excluding cigars.


In the 2018-19 Budget, the Australian Government announced new measures to combat the illegal tobacco trade in Australia as part of the part of the response to the black economy. This has become law, and will take effect from 1st July 2019.

It includes cigarettes, shisha/molasses tobacco and loose-leaf tobacco for use in pipes or roll-your-own cigarettes; it does not include cigars or chewing tobacco and snuffs intended for oral use. Tobacco products imported by passengers or ship/aircraft crew within the duty-free allowance are also excluded.

From 1st July 2019, importers holding permits will be required to pay all duty and applicable tax liabilities upon importation. This is a change from the current system, where tobacco can be imported and stored in licensed warehouses prior to tax being paid.

Special arrangements will apply to tobacco products that are still in warehouses on 1st July. Importers will continue to be able to tranship tobacco products. Transhippers will not be required to obtain a permit and will not need pay duty on tobacco that is transhipped through Australia, provided the tobacco is not entered into home consumption.

Permits to import unmanufactured tobacco and tobacco refuse continue to be managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

You must have a permit prior to importing tobacco products. Contact your customs broker before contemplating placing overseas orders. The staff at Colless Young will be happy to provide information if you wish to enquire about the procedure for obtaining import permits.