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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, 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

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A cigar is a tobacco product. It 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, for appearance and flavor, which is often the highest quality leaf used. Often there will be a cigar band printed with the cigar manufacturer's logo. Modern cigars can come with two or more, highlighting special qualities such as age and origin of the tobaccos used.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Humidor</span> Humidity-controlled box or room for storing tobacco or cannabis

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.

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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.

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  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". The Local France. 15 April 2022. 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.