How to open a tobacco shop

To open a tobacconist you can proceed in two ways: take over from another merchant or start from scratch.

In the first case the problems inherent in the choice of a suitable room are avoided (which, as we shall see below, must meet certain requirements) and can count on an already established clientele. On the other hand, entry fees are likely to be very high, as they are commensurate with the volume of business of the tobacconist. Read also Tabaccheria, how to buy one, pros and cons.

In the second case we will have to follow the procedure that we are now going to analyze: the road is a little longer, but we can count on a lower initial outlay. The absence of a defined customer base is not an insurmountable problem: the distribution of tobacconists is regulated and the new opening will be able to count on a sufficient basin. It is also undeniable that in the case of tobaccos, it is not important to focus on marketing or customer loyalty.

Requirements and procedures to open a tobacco shop

The Customs and Monopolies Agency sets a series of stringent rules which must be followed by anyone who wants to open a tobacconist.

First of all it is not possible to open a tobacconist where there are others in proximity, unless you respect given distances and a certain relationship between the number of inhabitants and tobacconists. The distance between one shop and another refers to the shortest route on foot, in accordance with the rules set by the Highway Code.

Going into detail, we require the following:

In the municipalities up to 10,000 inhabitants, the ratio between the number of tobacconists and citizens is set at 1,500: this means that in a country of 2,000 inhabitants, there can be only one tobacconist; if there are 9,000 inhabitants, there can be three tobacconists. An exception to this rule is envisaged if the new tobacco shop is more than 600 meters away from the existing one.

For the most populous Municipalities, a minimum distance is set with respect to the nearest existing retail outlet:

  • 300 mt for Municipalities up to 30,000 inhabitants;
  • 250 mt for Municipalities with a number of inhabitants between 30.001 and 100.000;
  • 200 mt for Municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

Without prejudice to the distance requirement, it is then necessary to consider the so-called productivity, calculated on the basis of parameters that are updated every two years by the Customs and Monopolies Agency.

To understand if there is room for a new activity, we take into consideration the “aggio” (ie the net revenue reserved for the tobacco dealer from the State Monopoly) created by the three nearest tobacconists, located less than 600 meters away to the one you want to open.

It goes without saying that the productivity requirement does not apply when, in compliance with the distances above seen, the new tobacconist will rise more than 600 meters from the existing ones.

No special requirements are required for the holder , nor is it necessary to have specific skills. Once the assignment of a tobacconist is obtained, however, a specific training course must be followed in accordance with DL 78/2010.

Once you have identified the right place, you can tackle the bureaucratic process that is composed as follows:

The applicant must present a form to the office of the territorially competent Agency, which can be downloaded by clicking here .
The form must be completed in plain paper and can be delivered at any time: there are no specific deadlines.

Every 6 months, the Agency’s Office collects all the requests relating to the territory of its competence and launches a temporary plan of the new openings which is published on the website of the Customs and Monopolies Agency.

In the 20 days following publication, anyone can view it and comment on it.

The Territorial Office then formulates a definitive plan, made official by the subsequent publication on the same website, on the basis of which it assigns each area suitable for a new resale.

In the smaller municipalities (with a population of less than 30,000 inhabitants), they are assigned for a reserved competition, in order:

refugees already assigned equivalent licenses in the territories of origin;

disabled and war widows and equated;
other recognized refugees, military decorated, mutilated or disabled due to work at least 40%, widows of deaths at work.

In the event of a tie, the preference is for those who have proposed the most suitable venue.


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