Does Trader Joe’s Sell Tobacco Products? (The Details)

Tobacco products are sold in over 40,000 stores throughout California. The prevalence of tobacco in retail contexts normalizes use and triggers smoking desires in former smokers and those attempting to quit. As a result, restricting the number of merchants is seen as critical to ending the tobacco epidemic.

Given that Trader Joe’s has a cult-like following and is recognized for having a little bit of everything at reasonable rates, one of the most frequently asked questions is – does Trader Joe’s sell tobacco products? We’ve got your answers, as well as a fascinating backstory.

Does Trader Joe’s Sell Tobacco Products in 2023?

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No. Tobacco products of any kind are not sold at Trader Joe’s. It is a policy of its parent company, Aldi Nord, which deviated from Aldi’s supermarket chain on the issue of selling cigarettes. People’s perception of the brand may have reinforced the approach and that tobacco products are a dying industry.

Why Doesn’t Trader Joe’s Sell Tobacco Products?

Aldi Nord, the company that owns Trader Joe’s, has decided not to sell tobacco products due to declining revenues and health concerns. The creator, Theo Albrecht, was one of two brothers who aspired to sell tobacco products, which strained his relationship with his brother Karl.

The original disagreement between the brothers sprang from Karl’s fear that it would encourage shoplifting rather than health concerns.

For example, Trader Joe’s might not want to be associated with a product that, according to a surgeon general, is likely to kill its customers. Tobacco products have a low-profit margin, and the brand may not be worth it from a commercial standpoint. There’s also the added work of adhering to tobacco-sale restrictions.

This may appear to you to be an unnecessary burden. Because of the hazardous nature of the product, it is a shrinking retail market. As a result, it is not worth the effort. However, they do sell alcohol. As a result, they aren’t complete purists. In numerous states, Trader Joe’s sells alcohol.

Did Tobacco Products Cause Trader Joe’s and Aldi To Go Their Separate Ways?

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Because the break occurred before Trader Joe’s was created, the two companies did not separate. However, the founding brothers split their company due to a disagreement over the sale of tobacco products. In 1960, they debated whether Aldi should offer cigarettes.

Due to a conflict between Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud, the company was divided. Both brothers – Karl and Theo Albrecht, agreed to work in distinct geographical locations. A decade later, one of the companies would purchase Trader Joe’s.

It was not originally part of Aldi and is currently operated independently. As a result, Aldi and Trader Joe’s do not share a parent company or ownership structure. Their ancestors are something they both share. After all, Aldi Nord launched Trader Joe’s roughly 40 years ago.

Does Aldi’s Grocery Sell Tobacco?

Cigarettes are not available for purchase at Aldi. Aldi is a subsidiary of Aldi Süd, which anti-smoking activist Karl Albrecht founded. Despite being the Albrecht brother who wanted cigarettes to be sold, Theo launched Trader Joe’s in 1979 and elected not to sell any tobacco items.

Unlike most other budget supermarkets, Aldi does not sell cigarettes, which is commendable. It prioritizes the consumer’s health over the company’s bottom line. However, despite or perhaps because of health, cigarette sales in stores are declining.

Another critical factor to consider is the brand’s reputation. The sale of cigarettes is frowned upon by many people. After all, stores are intended to promote healthier products. Because of the dangers that tobacco products pose, many people are wary of businesses that sell them.

Is House-Brand Tobacco Sold In Any Retail Stores?

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Both Nouria Energy and Circle K are convenience stores that sell cigarettes. The main benefit for these shops is better margins on house-brand tobacco.

But, how many house brand cigarettes help merchants make more money? Consider the taxation on a cigarette pack. A pack of smokes costs an average of $1.41 in the US. In some regions, the tax for each pack is over $3.00.

This information from IGEN Tax says that if you buy tobacco in bulk and repackage it under their own label, they can sell it cheaper.

They are also frequently produced by the same companies that create the more prominent brands. Because house brands are always cheaper than well-known names, many consumers choose them.

Another reason is that these products are less expensive. Price-conscious customers such as the poor, the elderly, and those who are financially reliant usually purchase these things. If you are underage or lack sufficient identity, any store may refuse to sell you tobacco products.

What Stores Sell Tobacco Products?

The low-cost tobacco stores are H.E.B., Walgreens, 7-Eleven, Dollar General, Sam’s Club, Rite-Aid, Family Dollar, Walmart, Costco, and Albertsons.

As you can see, tobacco products are sold at various low-cost outlets. So even if they’re not available at Trader Joe’s, you’ll have no trouble locating them elsewhere.

It is also entirely legal. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not have a prohibition on tobacco discounts. All you have to do is follow the appropriate rules and regulations.

The sale of tobacco products to minors, for example, is prohibited. A person must be 21 years old to purchase tobacco products. If a person who appears to be very young requests tobacco, they may be asked to provide proof of age. Be sure you have identification with your age visible, such as a driver’s license.

Why Are More Grocery Stores Banning Tobacco?

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Independent pharmacists claimed illness and death as the only reason for ceasing cigarette sales. Grocery shop owners blame various factors for their bad health, including regulatory restrictions. Employees at the drugstore were relieved that a potentially lethal product was no longer being distributed.

Grocery store management saw the decision to stop selling cigarettes to improve their image and fit with their healthy food offerings. Non-smokers and smokers alike were unaware that tobacco was no longer sold in stores. Despite this, almost everyone agreed that the shift was beneficial to public health.

Separate pharmacists cited the link between sickness, cigarettes, and mortality as the only reason for ending tobacco sales.

In one case, the owner noted that numerous family members had died due to a tobacco-related ailment. In another scenario, the link between smores and disease was less clear, yet there was still enough reason to prohibit tobacco sales.

Managers and owners of grocery stores also claimed personal and abstract health concerns for stopping cigarette sales—all but one identified at least one additional cause, such as declining tobacco sales or tobacco-related difficulties.

Minors attempting to purchase tobacco are also subject to licensing procedures.

Furthermore, because cigarettes are dangerous, the choice not to offer tobacco goods protects customers. Cigarettes cause cancer, high blood pressure, and various other diseases, in case you didn’t know.

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It is also one of the world’s major causes of death. The worst aspect is that, because of its addictive nature, even those who want to stop can’t.

According to one store manager, some smokers welcomed the new legislation, making it harder for them to acquire cigarettes. This approval suggests that those consumers were attempting to break their smoking habit.

Employees and management agree that cigarette sales should be phased out. They praised the new policy since it simplified their work. This was due to the pharmacy’s stated goal of concentrating on health-related issues.

Almost every business owner said they were happy with their tobacco-free programs – clearly stating that they do not see any circumstances that would lead to the policy being reversed. There should be no tobacco products at pharmacies since they represent wellness and cigarettes do not.

This suggests that the choice to quit selling cigarettes voluntarily was in keeping with their image of pharmacies as health-promoting companies. Retailers’ voluntary cessation of tobacco sales reflects and propagates cultural norm alterations.


The voluntary renunciation of tobacco sales by retailers reflects and extends social norm shifts that have made tobacco problematic in California and the rest of the country. This study implies that customers like voluntary merchant actions and should be promoted to strengthen public health efforts.

Having said that, you can be sure that you will unlikely find cigarettes or other tobacco products in Trader Joe’s or other grocery store chains. However, this does not rule out the possibility of cigarette shops you can drop by at. You simply need to know where to find them.

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