Stock Management

How to sell tobacco in your store

Before you can start selling tobacco in your store, you need to be aware that there are a number of tobacco laws you need to comply with. These include the Tobacco Display Ban regulations, the UK Standardised Packaging Regulations and Track and Trace.

Tobacco Display Ban

Since April 2015, it has been illegal to display tobacco products to people under the age of 18 in convenience stores and non-compliance with this law is a criminal offence.

There are a few display solutions that allow you to cover up your tobacco display such as a curtain, sliding door or a non-visible storage unit under or on top of the counter.

When it comes to price lists and labels for tobacco products, there are three legally permitted options:

1. One A3 poster can be placed anywhere in store and the poster must:

  • Have the title ‘tobacco products price list’
  • Have a font size of 30 or less
  • Contain only the brand name, number of units per pack and the price

2. A product catalogue can be kept at each point of sale, but it must not be displayed. It can only be shown to people over the age of 18, if they ask and it must:

  • Have a font size of 14 or less
  • Include images of branded packaging no bigger than 50cm2

3. Pricing labels can be displayed on covered shelving or on the front of the storage unit, and:

  • Labels must be no bigger than 9cm2
  • Only one label may be displayed per product location
  • Contain only the brand name, number of units per pack and the price

UK standardised packaging

In May 2016, the standardised Packaging of Tobacco Regulations 2015 came into effect. For retailers this means:

Tobacco packaging needs to:

  • Include only specified text, such as the brand name
  • Feature health warnings and fiscal marks
  • Tobacco packaging is to be of a dull brown, matt finish


Track and Trace

In May 2019, Track and Trace regulations came into effect under the EU Revised Tobacco Products Directive which is UK law.

Through this regulation tobacco products must be manufactured with unique identifier codes, so that they can be tracked through the supply chain.

If you wish to sell tobacco products in your store, you need to register with the tobacco ID issuer and apply for an Economic Identifier Code. The tobacco ID issuer for the UK is De La Rue and you can register on their website here.


The dos and dont's when selling tobacco

When a customer requests to buy tobacco from your store, by law you must check their age if you have any doubt that they may not be over the age of 18. Once you’re satisfied they are over 18, you can then retrieve their chosen item and immediately close the display unit.

There are some other exceptional circumstances when a tobacco display unit can be opened:

  • When you are replenishing the stock
  • In response to an adult tobacco request when they are with a child
  • When your unit is being repaired
  • When cleaning the unit
  • For staff training

In contrast, it is illegal to sell or display anything other than tobacco from your tobacco unit.

For more information on how to sell tobacco, click here.