(Last Update: 24 Apr 2023)
Having been ripped off recently, I asked this question. (List updated regularly) The answer is yes and no, depending on the vendor you use. Some are legit, others are FAKE. Websites selling illegal cigarettes don’t take credit/debit cards. They prefer anonymous, unregulated payment methods e.g.:
- Bank Transfer
- Western Union
- Pre-paid virtual cards
- Cash in an envelope
If the web site offered instant payment from Credit Card, then you can call your card company and reclaim the money back at any point without hassle. Otherwise you have nothing to stand on.
Important Message to buyers and dealers
When importing from other countries, you often DO have to pay import duty. This means your package is scanned and confiscated. The main rule is... if you buy cigs and get them delivered from within the same country as you live, there should be no tax issues.
Its safer to trade in Single Packs! Trading in cartons/sleeves from outside of your country is now often not allowed. At best, the buyer received a few sleeves, at worst the buyer gets a tax bill, or the delivery doesnt arrive at all. Dont trust a vendor who insists they will only deliver sleeves, as not only is this risky to deliver, the dealer may also then insist on a minimum sleeve order or you loose your cash; which has happened to me.
If you buy/deal in up to three packs each time, these are Samples, and are often allowed by law. Single packs are the safest, and are for collectors who want to save them, and are generally not for consumption.
Safe!, 100% Legit
For residents of the UK, this handy web site will compare all cigs in all of the major supermarkets. I ordered mine via Tesco and they arrived no issues.
For residents of the UK, Asda is a well known supermarket which offers card payment and very cheap delivery, although sometimes they have mimimum orders. I ordered mine twice in 2023. First time they did not bother to pick my item. Second try, they delivered it.
This is a specialist vendor from Leeds UK, offering unique and luxury items, cigars and cigarettes. Smoke-king is run by three ladies, Claire Green, Christine Green & Anna Toepritz (commonly known as The Smoke Queens), and this is a sister business to the Paul Green tobacco shop on Headrow in Leeds city centre. The company offers a direct telephone service 9.30am - 3.30pm UK time mon-fri, and their web site offers secure credit card purchasing. However, they will only ship items to the UK, they only sell single packs, and prices average around £10 per pack (more than many local sellers). On top of that you have postage; a First Class stamp for single items, or above 200g they charge £3.49. I ordered one package with 3 single items from here in 2015, and they were delivered. One poster here said they had problems when the site went down for a while.
Cheapasmokes.com - Cheapa Smokes is a UK tobacco distributor which operates out of Blackburn, Lancashire. They offer pipe, loose and rolled tobacco and cigarettes. Prices are the same as you would pay in stores, with a Next Day delivery option (£3.25) and 48-hour (£2.75). Cheapasmokes has physical stores all over the North West & North East of the UK, in towns such as Oldham, Halifax, Leigh and Newcastle to name just several. They also have a 4.9 rating on Trust Pilot, here.
For residents of the UK only. This is the online version of Turmeaus Tobacconist, established in 1817, with various branches based mainly in Cheshire UK, and also in London. They sell luxury cigars, and is a specialist mail order service for fine cigars; which also sells Duty-Paid brands of cigs. The cig packs are listed under Luxury Cigarettes, and single packs or cartons can be ordered with all major Credit Cards. Prices are about the same as you would pay on the high street. Postage starts from just £3.50, with special delivery for around £8, and they will happily ship worldwide. Same day delivery is available for Central London customers. Rare and exclusive cigars can be ordered, and this company has a 100% guarenteed delivery reputation.
For residents of the UK Only. Bull Brand has been a recognisable symbol in the world of cigarette lighters for decades. Now they have ventured into the sale of cig pack, and also a handy Bull Brand cig case too! They offer free 4-7 day delivery on orders over £60, with P&P starting from £3.25 per order. They won't process your money until you have received your items, and offer a no quibble refund otherwise. Prices are what you might expect to pay in a supermarket.
They ship full cartons to UK residents and also overseas. Credit card payment is available. Tracked & Signed 48 hour postage (2 working days from date of dispatch) is £3.85. TAX is deducted for overseas shipments, but you risk getting an import duty bill.
A Dutch company founded in 2000 as AmsterdamCigars.nl, Hartman Cigars counts itself among the most widely known and appreciated names in the Dutch cigar-smoking culture. With 2 unique stores located in the centre of Amsterdam. Their online store offers single packs and cartons, and you can pay by credit card, a number of Dutch and German cards, and by secure bank transfer. Or you can walk into one of their high street stores and buy directly. Here is a video tour from 2009. Shipping is usually 2-3 days, so a customer should get their order within a week. Seized or lost shipments will be 100% refunded, or shipped again, with instant tracking and informed customer service options. Shipping to the UK is expensive at 25 euros, making a shipment of these more exotic cigs about the same price as you would pay at home for your usual brand. Shipping to other countries varies.
For residents of N.E USA, New Hampshire and Maine. This site will show prices based on a store locator.
For residents of California, especially Burbank and Glendale, USA. Single packs available to buy online.
For Residents of the USA. Sams Club is a membership only discount store, operated out of Fresno, CA. They have local clubs in several areas, which you can find by entering your Zip code. Prices are hidden from non-members. No info on this company, as as they offer department store items and credit card payment, it looks legit to me.
JTExpress.tokyo - One poster recommended this Japanese company; and their web site seems to be in English. The FAQ is actually quite helpful. They promise to ship within 30 days but can only estimate delivery, and this also depends on the imports customs, and post office dispatch times per country. They offer a very nice range of cigs, from well known American blends to very unique special finds, with 4 cartons as their maximum order. You pay double the listed price, with an average carton costing ¥ 4,500, Shipping is ¥ 3,700, and a Transaction Charge Rate (6%) ¥ 492 is added, bringing the total to ¥ 8,692 (£57.58/ or 76.46 USD, €65.50 equivalent). They offer Paypal as a payment option - so these guys should be secure, as Paypal always gives the full payment back to the sender if anything should go wrong, 30 days after the order date.
Ebay is 100% secure as all claims for fraud automatically get approved in the customers favour, and Paypal will always refund. You can also use a credit/debit card. There are various different types of ebay sellers, and some are better than others.
- Dealers - There are very few tobacco dealers on ebay, and I havent found any.
- Broken Lots / Estate Sales - Some collections are broken down into individual lots. Make sure they will post to your location, many US sellers also charge high postage. Many of these lots are antique cigs and are unsmokable due to age, and are for collections only.
- Single Packs - All the private sellers who sell single packs have come through ok for me. These sales are often recent packs from people who recently gave up, or not needed anymore.
- Part-Time Dealers - There are a few of these, who regularly sell classic or modern packs individually. One such person specializes in Chinese packs and is based in Hong Kong. The packs are very cheap at $4 to $6, and all orders have arrived no problem.
UK UK 2 FRANCE ITALY SPAIN USA 1 USA 2
Ali Express Flavour Capsules/Beads
Collectors Single Packs
Collectors can advertise on ebay (see above) but often have their own web sites, dedicated to the sale of classic brands. However, unless you enjoy cigs which taste of dust, mould, and old leaves, you wouldnt want to risk smoking any of these. The packs are in various conditions, from mint to heavily damaged, and some are Empty packs, so please read the info carefully before you buy.
CigaretteCollector.net - Rudy Stoler is the proud owner of a sizeable collection left to him by his grandfather. The collection began in the 1940s, and grew to a vast archive of rare and classic full cigarette packs. The web site offers payment by Paypal or Credit Card, so you are always 100% secure, and shipping overseas costs $4. Combined postage and discounts may be available upon request. Rudy answered all of my emails promptly, and after a while he forwarded the shipping details so that I could check on the progress of my order. The package took around 2 weeks to arrive at my local UK post office, and there was a small customs charge of £9.61 to pay to get the package released. Most packs are available to buy form $8-$10, which is a bargain, although most of the best items have now been sold.
Perhaps?, looks OK
This German Only website sells cigars and loose tobacco, and a limited range of packs. The website is in German, established in 1920. One comment on here said they are legit. Brands include Pall Mall, Winston, Fair Play, Paramount and Gauloises.
Registered in October 2012, this vendor ships mainly to Greece but also worldwide. They stock a HUGE range of cigars and cigarettes. Credit Cards purchases seem to be available. Postage is €6.50 for mainland Greece, €17 for the EU, and €22 for UK and USA. The web site looks professional, and they accept returns, although strangely for a Greek web site, everything is written in (sometimes poorly translated) English.
A Japanese company which delivers cartons AND single packs. Some rare items. They keep a list of customers confiscations, Europe seems ok, Uk possible, they do not ship to most American States. The postage is insured but expensive at $27 per shipment, plus they add a $6.69 handling fee. Tried to order from them, but they only accept Wire Transfers and bit-coin, which are costly and NOT SAFE. One person posted their order arrived, in Feb 2019.
cigardd.com - This site if for people of Thailand only, and ships 2 packs at once for around ฿650. Express postage (Thailand only) is ฿60. Buyers pay by bank transfer from a selection of national banks, and can order by telephone or via the web site. The seller has no physical shop, and although they say they will not refund lost packs, they will refund damaged ones.
CheapCigarettes.net.au - This company has been operating since December 2004 in Melbourne, and caters to Australian residents only. They have no physical shop, and accept Net Banking Transfer or Direct Deposit to their CBA business account. The cigarettes are reduced in Tax with no extra costs, they are 100% genuine, and they deliver cartons for FREE via Australia Post Express service. However, one poster here said they have a minimum order of 4 cartons.
Smokes-spirits.com - Proudly owned and operated by an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians. Smokes-Spirits is a Native American business located on the Seneca Nation (a Sovereign Nation) in Western New York. As such, they can deliver products Americans Only, hopefully without paying taxes. The brands are almost always Native American; such as Real, and Native American Spirits. They will accept EChecks, Cashiers Checks, Personal Checks and Money Orders, and delivery by UPS Express - so orders are insured and guaranteed to arrive within 5 days (requires adult signature on arrival).
CiggiesWorld.com - This company registered in 2010, and are based in Canberra, Australia, although they ship from Indonesia, and you pay in U.S Dollars using your credit card. They offer a large range of Regular, Menthol, and Flavoured cigs, cigars and accessories, specialising in clove cigs. They sell single packs only! and you pay between $5-$10 per pack, and $7 postage for up to two packs - although this decreases with scale; so 10 Packs postage is $15. For example x10 '555' brand cigs will cost $55 + $15 postage=$70, which isnt much of a saving on your usual high street brands, but they have a range of something different. Reports say they can be slow to deliver, and some say between 15 and 45 days. The quality of the cigs is also 'Far Eastern', which may be a different blend to the ones you are used to, and while some say the service is always excellent and friendly, others say the cigs quality is cheap.
Unknown / Maybe?
Yet another new face on the scene, the Gigarettes web site was founded in April 2019, and stocks all the usual cheap Eastern European brands you've seen before. In the blurb they say the cigs are not fakes, but Eastern Euro brands are unlikely to use the freshest finest Virginian tobacco. As usual, the registered address and phone number links to a location in Panama, although just for a change, the Fax number goes to somewhere in Peru. From the images posted on the Facebook group, I'd say this is either a local eastern European reseller who buys wholesale, or this is the usual South American dealer who registers via Panama? Gigarettes offer credit card and wire transfer (not safe) payments, and offer to refund any package seized by local customs - after you wait for it to be sent back, and also give them some money for redelivery. If the package is scanned, you pay the duty, although at an average price of £45 per sleeve, even doubling this could still make them cheaper than buying a carton/sleeve at home? If you send it back, you pay postage and run the gauntlet of a re-send.
- Many people have used this service and had good results so far, and with issue claimants getting their money back, although on the web site it says only 70% can be claimed as a refund. CigsSpot buys cheap European quality cigs from poor European countries warehouses, and ships them to a limited number of destinations. They use BitCoin, which can be expensive to purchase online, and offer delivery to the UK, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia, the US and Canada, but requires expensive Express Delivery, with a 4 carton minimum order.
Another strange mixture of a website. Hit Cigars mainly sell Cigars, but they also stock a limited range of (flavoured) cigs. The web site claims the company is based in Geneva, Switzerland - but the site was registered via Canada and U.S. This company ships from a Bonded Warehouse in central Europe. One comment on here says they ship from Turkey? The cigs listed on the web site seem to be U.S imports? Shipping is not listed and depends on weight. Returns are accepted, but unsure about refunds. Credit cards seem to be acceptable. There is something strange about this web site, and maybe it should be listed under suspicious?
This is probably for American customers only. Based in Pennsylvanian, U.S, this reputable store mainly sells cigars, but also fine loose tobacco in pouches; if you want to make your own cigs. They have a shop at 90 Mort Drive, Easton, PA 18040. One poster has commented that they would ship to Canada, but eventually they were stung with a $600 tax bill, and then $1300; leaving them in credit with the company by $70, but no way to safely order more.
- chinesecigarettes.com/ Chinese Brands - Unknown
duty-free-japan.jp - Japanese Brands single packs? - Unknown.
tabako-sakuranbo.co.jp - Japan Single Packs - needs Translate, Unknown.
This company appeared in April 2004 as TobaccoOnline.co.uk. In March 2018, they launched a second web site FagsAndTobacco.com, although I was unable to track down where they are based. They sell Cuban Cigars and lower quality Eastern European cigs. Their registered office is in Butschwil, Switzerland - which means they are selling tax free cigs, probably imported from the Ukraine. They offer a range of (almost certainly Eastern European reproduction) American brands, and almost all of the products are priced in sleeves/cartons of 3 (30 packs) or 5 (50 packs) only, with Free Shipping. Prices are expensive, and x5 sleeves of Marlboro Reds might cost $126 (£96.38) each. They promise to refund or redeliver any lost or damaged order, and they say they can help with local taxes by giving store credit; which doesnt help if you can't get your items delivered. Payment methods are either Instant Bank Wire Payment (with 15% discount) (not safe in case of non-delivery) or Bitcoin (10% discount) (not safe in case of non-delivery). Tobacco Online no longer sells cigarettes, but they have had some negative reviews here, here and here. One reader of this forum has said their order arrived to Hungary. Access to this website is restricted on some browsers. I'd say it's a lot of money to gamble on what could be cheap reproductions.
Only 2 brands - Marlboro and Newport. Looks like one of those bonded warehouse traders. They seem to ship out of Hong Kong, or at least they are registered there. My guess is they are reproduction cigs imported from China or more likely Malaysia or the Philippines.
Web site in German only. Never heard of this seller before, but one comment said they ship worldwide. The web site is very primitive, and seems to scroll down the page forever instead of having the usual bank of click boxes. Cartons are available in Euros, and I presume they take credit card orders? One comment here said they are a scam.
Cig88 exports genuine Chinese cigarettes worldwide. Thats the good news. The bad news is they charge a fortune for some of the brands, and payment options are limited to the worst possible methods: USD Coin (crypro currency), bit coin, Paysend and Western Union - so no refunds on any of those. Shipping options are vague, and the site tells you to place a trial order, to see how shipping is affected. There is no mention of a refund policy on the website for lost or confiscated goods, and they say they only ship two cartons per package; so if you buy 6 cartons, you pay the postage three times over. The site doesnt feel too safe to me.
cigs-depot.com - Anything with 'depot' in the title sounds 'cheap', looks like most fake sites on this list. I couldnt find much info on them. They are registered in Tortola, which is the largest of the British Virgin Islands. They sell a large variety of (presumably) South American made cigs via (presumably) Panama. The faq says they will refund lost deliveries after 30 days, and they accept VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, JCB, DINERS credit cards, and WIRE Bank Transfers from 'most' countries. I cant find any reviews of this company, good or bad, but as the design looks like so many other questionable sites, I put them here.
cigoutlet.net, smokin4free.com and CanadaCigarettes.org
These web sites operate under the same umbrella, are resisted with Hong Kong Guangdong NiceNIC Technology Company, but operate from Minsk in the Ukraine. There is a wide selection of Eastern European brands and licenced blends, although the quality of the tobacco can be harsher than American cigs. Many of the brands listed are Sold Out, with only perhaps 10 different brands in stock, and with minimum orders of 2 or 3 sleeves. Prices per sleeve start from $16-$30, and aroud $10 per package postage costs. They split orders into shipments of 2 or 3 sleeves per shipment, and they say they offer a 100% money back guarantee in case of lost of damaged goods - although you might still pay tax on the items depending on your local import laws. Credit Cards are accepted, although the phone number on the web site goes to somewhere in America, you cant order cigs over the phone. Some negative comments online are mainly focussed on late delivery, so these are moved to Unknown.
Looks very much like those above, especially cigoutlet. Not much is known about this company, although the design if the web site seems very familiar, and could be part of a chain network. This is a company run by 'Armen' out of Panama, they sell European cigs from bonded warehouses in Europe. Prices seem cheap at around $35 per carton, but postage is $10 extra per carton, and their minimum order is 2 cartons. The site offers several payment options including bit-coin (unsafe) and credit card. They dont accept returns unless the carton is damages or faulty, and if you return, you dont get delivery costs back. Credit card orders are transacted through Klik And Pay - which is safe and secure - and they claim to be able to refund costs (minus their fee) in the event of fraud.
Cigarettes-mart.com - A HUGE range but only sell cartons in pack of 3 minimum. You can apparently pay by card. Ships worldwide. Not much information about these guys. They were registered by a company from Sanford, North Carolina - but all of their products are Eastern European in origin. Not so much fakes, but more the 'native brands' of those countries; the stuff you might find in Lithuania, or more likely Ukraine. Each item comes with a review section with between 10-75 reviews, with marks for Good Taste, Quick Delivery, Genuine Product, Trustworthy Product and Cheap Product. Very few items have scores for Genuine or Trustworthy, and those that do are low. There is no FAQ that I can find. One poster here said they didnt reply to emails, and the phone number is fake. This all sounds suspicious to me.
Cheap-cig.com - This company seems to be a clone of others on the suspicious list, and you pay be e-check - which as as bad as a money order when it comes to security. The offer good prices, with no minimum order, and the more you buy, the more you save. FREE Express U.S Shipping, and discounts for regular customers. Two reviews online but nothing from users of this forum.
Based of course in Vietnam. I ordered 200 Kiss cigs in 2015 and they arrived no problem. No cold calling or hassle, just a one time smooth order, but of course they could be copies? They have since stopped offering Kiss. Since then, they stopped offering card payments and now only accept Moneygram or bank transfer - which are both on the unsafe list. One poster on this thread reported a problem, so this has been moved down.
The site looks like a bulk dealer, or someone who can take a holiday on your $500, and supply cheap cigs from a duty-free shop inside the airport on the way back. Shipping from 'various locations worldwide'. You cannot cancel an e-cheque payment but your seller can. Ask the seller to cancel the e-cheque and you will probably never hear from them again. If by some miracle you manage to get 3-12 cartons of cigs sent to your country, it will be unlikely customs officers will just ignore it when the shipment lands, meaning you pay the same for the cigs as you would have done at home anyway. I'd say its not safe.
kkare.com - This site posts lots of photos online, giving the impresson they are legit. Supposedly they ship worldwide, you pay by card, and they offer cartons and individual packs. But their location address leads to dead end in New York, the web site is registered to a guy from Fu Jian in China, and their facebook links dont work. I sent them many emails but they havent replied. The web site has been updated recently, but still offers the same fake address, and a FAQ which doesnt contain any information at all. I'd say this feels suspicious.
This web site was set up by two guys from Sichuan China, selling Marlboro and Newports. Considering the Far East has its own locally manufactured brands available for around $1 to buy, this could be a way to sell those back to Americans at inflated prices. Only cartons can be purchased, with a minimum of three cartons per order. They say they offer a no questions exchange or refund policy, assuming they send you the cigs in the first place, as the information on the site says they are based on "3rd Avenue, New York" - a bogus address. They only accept Western Union - which is a HUGE risk - and I would not trust this web site.
DutyFreeKing.co - DutyFreeKing appeared on the internet in June 2017, but claims to have been trading goods since 2002. DutyFreeKing deal in European (non-FSC) cigarettes, and licenced products made in Europe, and ship from several Bonded warehouses around the world, including Dubai and Panama. They sell carton/sleeves only, and accept Credit Cards and Bitcoin, so Credit Cards are safe in case there is an problem. Shipping is 15.90 EUR or 19.50 USD per carton worldwide, or for USA packages its 19.80 EUR / 24 USD. They have a wide range of items in stock, and the web site has a very extensive FAQ for those interested in the details. One poster said they shipped to France no problem. Many posters on this thread have said their cigs did not arrive, or were short of the order, and with little or no contact for explanation or refunds.
Az-smokes.com - DNC Holdings, Inc. founded this web shop in the summer of 2012. Although registered in the US, they are another Bonded Warehouse dealer, who buy in bulk from European and global non-duty affected warehouses, and ship to your door. For this reason they have a minimum order of at least 2 cartons. The range is very good; with all the most popular French, British and American brands. Prices are also cheap: e.g. 2 cartons at $30 each, plus $10 delivery per carton, is $80 complete. The bad news is they only take E-Checks (Visa Payment is advertised everywhere on the site, but they DONT TAKE IT.). Az-smokes are also selective on where they can deliver, but no info about this is on their site. Arizona and parts of the USA, Portugal, and certain brands going to certain countries like Australia cant be shipped. They say to contact them directly before you make a purchase, but their telephone number doesn't work. They are also on Facebook. One post on here said they failed to deliver, and after six months of emails failed to send a refund.
Ukcigs.co - Usually near the top of UK searches, this site seems to have been registered by a German partnership, which operates out of New Providence (Nassau). The registrar is INTERNET.BS CORP, which makes me think this is part of the Alex Carter network. They ship cheap eastern European and Asian made cigs, meant for the Russian market. They split the shipment into 2 or 3 cartons per container, but give no guarantees regarding import tax, and are not responsible if you have to pay it. You can pay by Visa Credit or Debt card, and they say they will refund lost or damaged goods. Its looks like this web site is winding down, as their range is very limited and mostly sold out. They also have a 4 star review rating on trustpilot.
USA-cigarettes.com - This seems to be a bonded warehouse in Panama, although the emails I got felt like they were Chinese? I ordered 200 Misty 120's, and after they took my money via Western Union (£30), they said they needed a minimum order of 4 or 5 cartons, and then refused to send my order, or give a refund, even after promising to do so in back and forth emails. So I lost my money and received no items. Beware!
Seems legit, with credit cards accepted, but there are so many negative complaints on the internet saying the shipments were "held in New York" and after 3 months it was reported as lost. Their facebook has complaints, and here is one report from 2016. They even charge $26 for express delivery and the items may not appear.
This web site is managed by a guy from China. He claims to be based in Panama, and they pool global port collection tax evasion cigarettes of various countries, in three large warehouses in New York, Hong Kong, and London. They will ship directly to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and offer a huge range of cartons at the lowest prices, fast air freight delivery (just £9 or equivalent) and the price you pay is per carton (thats x10 packs). The packs they sell are ex-duty confiscations, and some of them have been lying around for some time. Many brands they appear to have in stock went off sale many years ago, and most dont even show health notices on the pack, so this gives you some idea of the 'freshness' of some of these. The year of manufacture is listed with each item. The other bad news is web site claims to offer credit card, but in fact only accepts Wire Transfers directly to this guys chinese bank account, so this is a no-way-back in cases of lost or non arrival of goods. In cases of loss, they only carry one sleeve of each of these items, so they are unlikely to replace it. I emailed them and they didnt reply. The web site has gone down many times over the years, currently it is up again.
Websites supposedly no longer selling cigarettes
Dutyfreedepot.com, - I ordered several times and many cartons from these guys. They often were seized by Customs and I had to ask them to resend them. They always did, but when the last carton took 6 months to arrive, with backwards and forwards emails, my loyalty collapsed. Dutyfreedepot.com is based in Israel and they use cheap copies. They also have an aggressive sales team, who will offer up to 15% discount on listed prices, only for the packs to be seized - and then long delays ensue. They use American sales people to drive hard bargains but mostly dont deliver. As one user wrote "Dutyfreedepot.com - This is the worst! Often they're crapping knock-offs full of sh*t and illegal as hell".