Last updated
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, and 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 marketing and retailing this sector is referred to as "CONTOB" ("confectionery and tobacco"). [1]

A Tabac is a shop licensed to sell tobacco products in France and Spain. Tabacs also sell newspapers, telephone cards, postage stamps and multi-journey bus tickets. [2]


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. [3]

Standard tobacco shops in the United States generally specialize in cigarettes, roll-your-own supplies, smokeless tobacco such as nasal snuff, dipping tobacco and chewing tobacco, as well as 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. [4]


Some tobacco shop owners in the US are concerned about the 2016 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for electronic cigarettes. [5] The 2010 FDA regulations caused some inconveniences for local tobacco shops in Cullman, Alabama, US. [6] 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. [6] Anyone under the age of 19 are not allowed entry to any US self-service tobacco shop, even if going with an adult. [6]

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cigar</span> Rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco leaves made to be smoked

A cigar is a rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco leaves made to be smoked. Cigars are produced in a 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 highest quality 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Snus</span> Moist tobacco product placed under the upper lip, used in the Nordic countries.

Snus is a tobacco product, originating from a variant of dry snuff in early 18th-century Sweden. It is placed between the upper lip and gum for extended periods, as a form of sublabial administration. Snus is not fermented. Although used similarly to American dipping tobacco, snus does not typically result in the need for spitting and, unlike naswar, snus is steam-pasteurized.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nat Sherman</span> American tobacco brand

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. 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Backwoods Smokes</span> American cigarette brand

Backwoods is an American brand of cigars that was introduced in 1973. This product was notable during the 1970s and 1980s for heavy advertising, which became one of the more obvious examples of how companies at the time reacted to changing laws and cultural views on public health and the smoking culture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Flavored tobacco</span> 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, hookahs and hookah tobacco, various types of smokeless tobacco, and more recently electronic cigarettes. Flavored tobacco products are especially popular with youth and have therefore become targets of regulation in several countries.

Youth smoking Overview article

Smokingamong youth and adolescents is an issue that affects countries worldwide. While the extent to which smoking is viewed as a negative health behavior may vary across different nations, it remains an issue regardless of how it is perceived by different societies. The United States has taken numerous measures, ranging from changes in national policy surrounding youth cigarette access to changes in media campaigns, in attempts to eliminate the use of tobacco products among teenagers. Approximately 90% of smokers begin smoking prior to the age of 18.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Regulation of tobacco by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration</span>

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tobacco display ban</span> Law prohibiting retailers from displaying tobacco

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

Smoking in Canada Overview of 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.

Smoking in Ireland is banned fully in the general workplace, enclosed public places, restaurants, bars, education facilities, healthcare facilities and public transport. However, it is permitted in designated hotel rooms and there is no ban in residential care, prisons and in outdoor areas. Public opinion is in favour of the bans on smoking imposed in Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tobacco-free pharmacy</span> 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 illegal in countries such as in France and most of Canada 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.

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.

blu eCigs Electronic cigarette brand

blu is an electronic cigarette brand, produced by Fontem Ventures and owned by Imperial Brands. The brand blu sells various types of rechargeable and disposable e-cigarettes with a wide selection of flavored and unflavored liquids. Its products are available in many countries and each market offers different types of products suited to public demand and opportunities. The global headquarters of blu is located in Amsterdam. Local offices are active around the world to service all markets which sell the brand.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vape shop</span> Shop selling electric cigarettes

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 heated tobacco product (HTP) is a tobacco product that heats the tobacco at a lower temperature than conventional cigarettes. These products contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive chemical. The heat generates an aerosol or smoke to be inhaled from the tobacco, which contains nicotine and other chemicals. HTPs may also contain additives not found in tobacco, including flavoring chemicals. HTPs generally heat tobacco to temperatures under 600 °C (1100 °F), a lower temperature than conventional cigarettes. HTPs use embedded or external heat sources, heated sealed chambers, or product-specific customized cigarettes. Whereas e-cigarettes are electronic devices that vaporize a liquid containing nicotine, HTPs usually use tobacco in leaf or some other solid form, although there are some hybrid products that can use both solid tobacco and e-liquids. There are various types of HTPs. The two most common designs are those that use an electric battery to heat tobacco leaf and those that use a carbon ember that is lit and then heats the tobacco. There are similar devices that heat cannabis instead of tobacco.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iqos</span> Heat-not-burn Tobacco Device

Iqos is a line of heated tobacco and electronic cigarette products manufactured by Philip Morris International (PMI). It was first introduced in November 2014 with the launch of the Iqos tobacco heating device in Japan and Italy, before being gradually commercialized in other countries.

Electronic cigarettes are marketed to smoking and non-smoking men, women, and children as being safer than 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. Yadin, Daniel, The International Dictionary of Marketing, p.58, 2002, Kogan Page, ISBN 0749435321 (not entirely accurate; the hyphen is not usual)
  2. "Why the tabac is essential to life in France – even if you don't smoke". Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  3. "Tobacconist: Inside Job". Inside Jobs. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  4. "Tobacco-Free Pharmacies". Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  5. Emily Fannon (10 May 2016). "New E-Cig Regulations Could Close Shops". Nexstar Broadcasting Group.
  6. 1 2 3 Trent Moore (9 July 2010). "New FDA regulations affecting tobacco shops". The Cullman Times . Nexstar Broadcasting Group.