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A tobacconist is an expert dealer in tobacco in various forms and the related accoutrements. Such accoutrements include pipes, lighters, matches, pipe cleaners, pipe tampers, 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, canes or other walking sticks, and candy are sometimes sold. A tobacconist shop is traditionally represented by a wooden Indian positioned nearby.
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Tobacconists understand everything about tobacco including its different forms, the varying colors and scents, the textures and tastes and use this knowledge to inform customers about the tobacco products. The tobacco industry is not booming now as it once was so tobacconists are much harder to find. Many smokers still prefer to buy their products from a tobacco shop with a tobacconist behind the counter.
A tobacconist is also required to do more than be a connoisseur of fine tobacco. They must be able to run the tobacco shop, handle money, keep the shop clean, stock products, and assist customers.
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.
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.
An advertisement for a tobacconist from the almanac of La Chronique de Jersey, 1892
Modern tobacconist in Windsor UK.
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