Up until 31 August 2012, if you are aged 18 years or over, you can bring 250 cigarettes or 250 grams of cigars or tobacco products duty-free into Australia with you. All tobacco products in accompanied baggage are included in this category, regardless of where or how they were purchased.
From 1 September 2012, the traveller tobacco concession reduces. If you are aged 18 years or over you can bring 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products duty-free into Australia with you. All tobacco products in accompanied baggage are included in this category, regardless of how or where they were purchased.
Customs has admitted there may be delays for smokers entering Australia as they get used to new limits on the number of duty-free cigarettes that can be brought into the country.
From Saturday travellers will be able to bring in only 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of tobacco.
The previous limit was 250 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco.
The change was announced in the May budget.
Smokers who declare excess tobacco themselves can either abandon the additional product or pay duty and GST on the lot.
Those caught exceeding the limit will have to pay duty and GST on everything or dump it all.
"We have taken steps to minimise any impact on passenger flows wherever possible," a customs spokeswoman said in a statement on Friday.
"(But) like any change there is always a settling-in period. We thank passengers for their patience during this settling-in period."
Customs says it has conducted awareness campaigns overseas as well as in Australia to ensure travellers know about the new duty-free limits. The international campaign is expected to ramp up in coming months.
But the Tourism and Transport Forum argues there's been no overseas advertising to date.
"International education campaigns are still some months away," forum chief executive John Lee said in a statement.
"This change will create an unprecedented level of confusion and mayhem in arrival halls, frustrating and complicating the arrival experience for all international visitors."
Mr Lee said the federal government should have delayed the change until March 2013 or exempted non-residents for 12 months until they learnt of the new limit.
The forum expects 400,000 cartons of cigarettes will be seized from travellers before Christmas at Sydney airport alone