According to the Finnish law, shops are not allowed to display tobacco packages to the customer, and the salespersons are not allowed to recommend brands for the customer, even if the customer asks for a recommendation. The intended procedure of buying tobacco is that the customer names the brand he wants, and the salesperson takes the product from a closed cupboard and sells it. The shops are also allowed to give the customer a list of available brands, and the customer can make his choice according to the list. Unfortunately, the lists are seldom up to date, and they usually contain also such items that are out of stock. The purpose of the law is to eliminate hidden advertising of tobacco, but the major real effect is that the law makes buying tobacco a frustrating experience.
Ironically, the large majority of smokers, who smoke solely because of nicotine, are not affected by the law. They are brand-loyal and know how to ask for their favourite brand. Furthermore, they usually smoke major brands that are almost always in stock. It is us, the more adventurous smokers, who want to find also the culinaristic aspects of smoking, who are hurt by the law. We want to try small brands that may be out of stock, even if the list claims otherwise, and we need recommendations from the salesperson so that we can try new brands that are, however, of the style we like.
Fortunately, dedicated tobacco shops are exempt from the law. They are allowed to openly display their selection. In practice, in dedicated tobacco shops the salespeople also recommend new brands, although I do not know if they are allowed by the law. I am fortunate enough to live in the capital area of Finland, which has a couple of dedicated tobacco shops, so I am not so badly affected by the law. However, most Finns live in smaller cities, where there are no dedicated tobacco stores, and they are forced to either stick to their favourite brand, or else otherwise blindly choose random items from a dated list.