We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

new rules on importing cigarettes.

Southend-on-Sea...
Level Contributor
5 posts
25 reviews
Save Topic
new rules on importing cigarettes.

OK, here's one that will divide people, between smokers and non-smokers, but here goes.

I understand from Thomson Holidays, that cigarettes brought in to Sri Lanka (that is Duty Free off the flights) will be confiscated. Does anyone know if this is strictly true, and if so, is it possible to bring just a couple of packets in for "personal use".

And, furthermore, can we buy English or American cigarettes in Negombo.

When we last visited Sri Lanka in 2007, there was a duty-free shop in arrivals - is it still possible to buy cigs. there?(Yes, I know, we shouldn't smoke!)

Thanks for any help

Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka, Kalutara, Ahungalla
Level Contributor
5,455 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

Hi there...

Thomson are correct by saying that there is NO Duty Free allowance for any tobacco products, they may be on the "frighteners" by saying that they will be confiscated, as a tourist it is highly unlikely that you would stopped at customs anyway.

A couple of OPEN packs is allowed !(20s)

No tobacco sold at duty free shop inbound anymore, but yes shop is still there.

You can but cigarettes at many palces, including your hotel of course, but local shops will be cheaper, maybe refrain from buying from touts and beachboys as they are likely to be fakes...

Regards

Dave

Fredericia, Denmark
Level Contributor
37,532 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

It's illegal to bring tobacco product into Sri Lanka, but the chance that you get stopped and searched is minimal, but if you do the fine is LKR 6,000/carton and cigarettes will be confiscated.

I buy cigarettes in Sri Lanka.

You can't buy duty free cigarettes on arrival to Sri Lanka. They simply don't have cigarettes at the duty free shop. On departure you can buy cigarettes.

Cigarettes that are legally available in Sri Lanka are:

John Players Gold Leaf

Dunhill (filter, lights, ultra lights)

Pall Mall (filter, lights, menthol)

Benson & Hedges (filter, lights)

Viceroy

Bristol

They last 2 are both shorter cigarettes and Bristol is quite strong

Cigarettes cost LKR 360-380/20.

You will come across beach boys selling cigarettes. You don't save much and many of their cigarettes are fakes.

Hans

Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka, Kalutara, Ahungalla
Level Contributor
5,455 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

Hi Hans....

Just to add a little, last time i was there (March to May) Benson Lights were no longer on sale..., unless they have started to do so again?

Regards

Dave

Fredericia, Denmark
Level Contributor
37,532 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

Benson Lights were still mentioned on the invoice from the authorized cigarette agent (where I buy my cigarettes) in May.

As I do not smoke Benson Lights I can't say whether they are still available or they have not updated their invoice.

Hans

Southend-on-Sea...
Level Contributor
5 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

Thanks very much for the info. I shall secrete a couple of packets in my suitcase to keep me going!

London, United...
Level Contributor
4 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

I am now really confused! First time in my world-wide travels I have encountered difficulties with duty free rules. I read on Sri Lankan airways website you are allowed your usual 200 cigs allowance per person, but am travelling by Qatar, with a plane change at Doha, where cigs are incredibly cheap, so wanted to buy them there. But now don't know what to do! Four of us travelling with 1 smoker, so could split cigs between us 4. 2 of us are Indian looking, would we be more likely to be stopped by customs? Where are best places to buy cigs that are not fakes? Hotels no doubt charge 'tourist' prices! What are prices of cigs locally compared to duty free in departure lounge for our return journey? Can't find much consistent advice on various airport sites for Colombo. Thanks anyone and everyone who has any advice!

UK
Level Contributor
2,319 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

Hi,

I don't know how Sri Lankan airlines can say you can take in a carton of cigarettes as it's illegal.

I can't see too much of a problem if you can break down the packs and spread the cigarette packets around between your group, stowed away in various places in your hand luggage.

It's very rare to see tourists stopped and searched on the way into Lanka.

But, at the end of the day, it's illegal so if you do decide to take them in you run the very slight risk of losing the cigarettes and paying a fine.

No problem buying when there. Plenty of shops sell them.

Rod.

Fredericia, Denmark
Level Contributor
37,532 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

>> I read on Sri Lankan airways website you are allowed your usual 200 cigs allowance per person

Exactly where did you read that?

This is what I see on SriLankan Airlines website:

…srilankan.aero/onboard/dutyfree_allow_srila…

Hans

London, United...
Level Contributor
4 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

Thank you for advice. Will play it 'safe' and not buy too many! Any advice on travelling to various sites? Some say it is better to hire a driver for the day from hotel, others say to get a train to nearest town, i.e. Kandy, then get local taxis or 'wheeler' to where you want to go, temples etc. Any recommendations? We are pretty adventurous, but am conscious of also wanting our safety and 'sanity' while travelling! Am assuming as roads are supposedly not brilliant, that trains might be speedier?

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
50,569 posts
174 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: new rules on importing cigarettes.

Hmmmm... quite a different topic...

If it's about day trips usually public transport would cause too much delay. With some exceptions; e.g. from Negombo bus or train to Colombo for shopping is okay, same from the Wadduwa-Bentota stretch. And from all south of Colombo same to Galle/Hikkaduwa, though then you cannot make all the nice stopovers (e.g. mask factory, moonstone mine) that a car would allow.

If it's about multi-day trips then public transport makes perfect sense; it just means cramming less activities in a day. And not too much luggage due to the bus limitations.

So for most day trips, it's car/driver... See the FAQ at topright corner of the forum for general criteria on how to choose one.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]