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Modern-day tobacco shop sign (Tabaktrafik) in Vienna, Austria. Trafik am Schwedenplatz - panoramio.jpg
Modern-day tobacco shop sign (Tabaktrafik) in Vienna, Austria.
19th century cigar store figures from Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Cigar Store Figures.jpg
19th century cigar store figures from Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
Tobacco shop in Neuchatel, Switzerland in 2020: advertisement is authorized inside the shop 20200517 192325 Commerce de tabac a Neuchatel (Suisse).jpg
Tobacco shop in Neuchâtel, Switzerland in 2020: advertisement is authorized inside the shop

A tobacconist, also called a tobacco shop, a "tobacconist's shop" or a smoke shop, is a retailer of tobacco products in various forms and the related accoutrements, such as pipes, lighters, matches, pipe cleaners, pipe tampers. More specialized retailers might sell: ashtrays, humidification devices, hygrometers, humidors, cigar cutters, and more. Books and magazines, especially ones related to tobacco are commonly offered. Items irrelevant to tobacco such as puzzles, games, figurines, hip flasks, walking sticks, and confectionery are sometimes sold. In the United States, a tobacconist shop is traditionally represented by a wooden Indian positioned nearby. Most retailers of tobacco sell other types of product; today supermarkets, in many countries with a special counter, are usually the main sellers of the common brands of cigarette. In the United Kingdom, a common combination in small corner shops has been a newsagent selling newspapers and magazines, as well as confectionery and tobacco. In UK retailing this sector is referred to as "CONTOB" ("confectionery and tobacco").



Specialist tobacconists are in theory educated and practiced in all things related to tobacco including its different forms, colors, scents, textures and tastes. They employ this knowledge to provide information regarding customers about the tobacco products. Due to the decline in the tobacco industry in recent decades and widespread use of mass-produced tobacco products, tobacconists have become scarce, though many smokers still prefer to buy their products from a tobacco shop with a tobacconist behind the counter. [1]

Standard tobacco shops in the United States generally specialize in cigarettes, roll-your-own supplies, smokeless tobacco such as dipping tobacco and chewing tobacco, cigars, and pipe tobacco. More recently, these smoke shops may also carry vaping supplies, and some may also double as head shops.

More upscale tobacco shops tend to have a much larger emphasis on cigars and pipe tobacco. Many of these establishments will have a walk-in humidor, as well as a smoking lounge or even a bar. These stores, often categorizing themselves specifically as a cigar store generally have limited amounts of the other commonplace forms of tobacco. Tobacco stores in Australia are normally franchised stores these days, as privately owned tobacconists generally don't or won't comply with the big tobacco companies. Then there are now smaller online tobacconists calling themselves Boutique Online Stores these stores are 24 hour operated stores, these stores are more specialized with emphasis on service and knowledge.

In countries where tobacco control laws are strong, tobacconists may have their trade limited. In the United States, it is common for retail pharmacies to sell cigarettes and similar products on the same premises as over-the-counter drugs and prescription medication. Campaigners in the USA advocate the removal of tobacco from pharmacies due to the health risks associated with smoking and the apparent contradiction of selling cigarettes alongside smoking cessation products and asthma medication. Pharmaceutical retailers counter this argument by reasoning that by selling tobacco, they are more readily able to offer to customers advice and products for quitting smoking. [2]


Some tobacco shop owners in the US are concerned about the 2016 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for electronic cigarettes. [3] The 2010 FDA regulations caused some inconveniences for local tobacco shops in Cullman, Alabama, US. [4] The US Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, has restricted marketing, particularly to minors; prohibited flavored cigarettes (excluding menthol); removed descriptions including "light," "mild," and "low-tar" from cigarette packs; and made larger the dimensions of warning labels on smokeless tobacco. [4] Anyone under the age of 19 are not allowed entry to any US self-service tobacco shop, even if going with an adult. [4]

Uses in art

The Tobacconist, Victorian Walk is a featured exhibit at the Museum of London. It showcases shops in an effort to recreate the late 19th century.

See also

Related Research Articles


A bong is a filtration device generally used for smoking cannabis, tobacco, or other herbal substances. In the bong shown in the photo, the gas flows from the lower port on the left to the upper port on the right.

Cigar A rolled bundle of tobacco

A cigar is a rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco leaves made to be smoked. They are produced in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Since the 20th century, almost all cigars are made of three distinct components: the filler, the binder leaf which holds the filler together, and a wrapper leaf, which is often the best leaf used. Often there will be a cigar band printed with the cigar manufacturer's logo. Modern cigars often come with two bands, especially Cuban Cigar bands, showing Limited Edition bands displaying the year of production.


A humidor is a humidity-controlled box or room used primarily for storing cigars, cigarettes, cannabis, or pipe tobacco. Either too much or too little humidity can be harmful to tobacco products; a humidor's primary function is to maintain a steady, desirable moisture level inside; secondarily it protects its contents from physical damage and deterioration from sunlight. For private use, small wooden boxes holding a few dozen or fewer cigars are common, while cigar shops may have walk-in humidors. Many humidors use hygrometers to monitor their humidity levels.

Swedish Match

Swedish Match AB is a Swedish company based in Stockholm that makes snus, moist snuff, and chewing tobacco. These products are known as moist smokeless tobacco. The company also makes machine-made cigars, matches, and lighters and sells batteries, light bulbs and disposable razors. Swedish Match operates in 11 countries and has 6,270 employees. The products are sold globally, with a majority of sales originating in Scandinavia and the United States.

Nat Sherman

Nat Sherman is the brand name for a line of handmade cigars and "luxury cigarettes." The company, which began as a retail tobacconist, continued to operate a flagship retail shop, known as the "Nat Sherman Townhouse," located on 42nd Street, off Fifth Avenue, in New York City from 1930 to 2020, when it closed its doors. Corporate offices are now located at the foot of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Nicotine gum is a type of chewing gum that delivers nicotine to the body. It is used as an aid in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), a process for smoking cessation and quitting smokeless tobacco. The nicotine is delivered to the bloodstream via absorption by the tissues of the mouth.

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is a public health strategy to lower the health risks to individuals and wider society associated with using tobacco products. It is an example of the concept of harm reduction, a strategy for dealing with the use of drugs. Tobacco smoking is widely acknowledged as a leading cause of illness and death, and reducing smoking is vital to public health.

Flavored tobacco Tobacco product with added flavorings

A flavored tobacco product is a tobacco product with added flavorings. Flavored tobacco products include types of cigarettes, cigarillos and cigars, hookah and hookah tobacco, and various types of smokeless tobacco. Flavored tobacco products are especially popular with youth and have therefore become targets of regulation in several countries.

Tobacco products

The following is an incomplete list of tobacco products.

Regulation of tobacco by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Regulation of tobacco by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began in 2009 with the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act by the United States Congress. With this statute, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was given the ability to regulate tobacco products.

Tobacco and art

Depictions of tobacco smoking in art date back at least to the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, where smoking had religious significance. The motif occurred frequently in painting of the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age, in which people of lower social class were often shown smoking pipes. In European art of the 18th and 19th centuries, the social location of people – largely men – shown as smoking tended to vary, but the stigma attached to women who adopted the habit was reflected in some artworks. Art of the 20th century often used the cigar as a status symbol, and parodied images from tobacco advertising, especially of women. Developing health concerns around tobacco smoking also influenced its artistic representation. Recently tobacco has impacted on art in a quite different way, with the conversion of many cigarette vending machines into Art-o-mat outlets, selling miniature artworks the shape and size of a cigarette packet.

A tobacco display ban, point-of-sale display ban or retail display ban is a measure imposed in some jurisdictions prohibiting shops and stores to display tobacco products.

Smoking in Canada

SmokinginCanada is banned in indoor public spaces, public transit facilities and workplaces, by all territories and provinces, and by the federal government. As of 2010, legislation banning smoking within each of these jurisdictions is mostly consistent, despite the separate development of legislation by each jurisdiction. Notable variations between the jurisdictions include: whether, and in what circumstances ventilated smoking rooms are permitted; whether, and up to what distance away from a building is smoking banned outside of a building; and, whether smoking is banned in private vehicles occupied by children.

Tobacco-Free Pharmacies Retail pharmacy that does not sell tobacco products

A tobacco-free pharmacy is a retail pharmacy where the sale of tobacco products is not available. Outside the United States, it is rare for pharmacy stores to sell cigarettes and similar products on the same premises as over-the-counter drugs and prescription medication. Anti-tobacco campaigners advocate the removal of tobacco from pharmacies due to the health risks associated with smoking and the apparent contradiction of selling cigarettes alongside smoking cessation products and asthma medication. Some pharmaceutical retailers counter this argument by reasoning that by selling tobacco, they are more readily able to offer to customers advice and products for quitting smoking.

Alfred Dunhill English tobacconist, entrepreneur and inventor

Alfred Dunhill was an English tobacconist, entrepreneur and inventor. He is the progenitor of Alfred Dunhill Ltd. a London-based luxury goods company owned by Swiss company Richemont and the Dunhill tobacco products company owned by British American Tobacco.

Regulation of electronic cigarettes varies across countries and states, ranging from no regulation to banning them entirely. For instance, e-cigarettes were illegal in Japan, which forced the market to use heat-not-burn tobacco products for cigarette alternatives. Others have introduced strict restrictions and some have licensed devices as medicines such as in the UK. However, as of February 2018, there is no e-cigarette device that has been given a medical license that is commercially sold or available by prescription in the UK. As of 2015, around two thirds of major nations have regulated e-cigarettes in some way. Because of the potential relationship with tobacco laws and medical drug policies, e-cigarette legislation is being debated in many countries. The companies that make e-cigarettes have been pushing for laws that support their interests. In 2016 the US Department of Transportation banned the use of e-cigarettes on commercial flights. This regulation applies to all flights to and from the US. In 2018, the Royal College of Physicians asked that a balance is found in regulations over e-cigarettes that ensure product safety while encouraging smokers to use them instead of tobacco, as well as keep an eye on any effects contrary to the control agencies for tobacco. A recent study shows electronic device company "JUUL" contains carcinogens and other harmful ingredients inside their e-juice cartridges.

blu eCigs

blu is an electronic cigarette brand, produced by Fontem Ventures and owned by tobacco giant Imperial Brands. The brand blu sells various types of rechargeable and disposable vapes with a wide selection of (un)flavored liquids. Over the years the brand has expanded its territory, as it now sells its products in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Russian Federation, Japan, Spain, Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Portugal, and the United Arab Emirates. Each markets offers different types of products, suited to public demand and opportunities. The global headquarters of blu is located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Local offices are active around the world to service all markets which sell the brand.

Vape shop

A vape shop is a retail outlet specializing in the selling of electronic cigarette products. There are also online vape shops. A vape shop offers a range of e-cigarette products. The majority of vape shops do not sell e-cigarette products that are from "Big Tobacco" companies. In 2013, online search engine searches on vape shops surpassed searches on e-cigarettes. Around a third of all sales of e-cigarette products take place in vape shops. Big Tobacco believes the independent e-cigarette market is a threat to their interests.

A premarket tobacco application (PMTA) is an application that must be reviewed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration before a new tobacco product can be legally marketed in the United States. The first PMTA, and only to date, was approved by US FDA on November 10, 2015, when the FDA authorized the marketing of eight Swedish Match North America Inc. snus smokeless tobacco products.

Electronic cigarettes are marketed to smoking and non-smoking men, women, and children as being safer than traditional cigarettes. E-cigarette businesses have considerably accelerated their marketing spending. All of the large tobacco businesses are engaging in the marketing of e-cigarettes. For the majority of the large tobacco businesses these products are quickly becoming a substantial part of the total advertising spending. E-cigarette businesses have a vested interest in maximizing the number of long-term product users. The entrance of traditional transnational tobacco businesses in the marketing of such products is a serious threat to restricting tobacco use. E-cigarette businesses have been using intensive marketing strategies like those used to publicize traditional cigarettes in the 1950s and 1960s. While advertising of tobacco products is banned in most countries, television and radio e-cigarette advertising in several countries may be indirectly encouraging traditional cigarette use.


  1. "Tobacconist: Inside Job". Inside Jobs. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  2. "Tobacco-Free Pharmacies". Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  3. Emily Fannon (10 May 2016). "New E-Cig Regulations Could Close Shops". Nexstar Broadcasting Group.
  4. 1 2 3 Trent Moore (9 July 2010). "New FDA regulations affecting tobacco shops". The Cullman Times . Nexstar Broadcasting Group.