Measures that EU countries and economic operators need to enact to put in place the EU-wide tracking and tracing system planned for under the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) (articles 15 and 16) have been clarified in secondary legislation adopted by the Commission today.
Welcoming the adoption of the legal acts, Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis reminded that "Illicit tobacco trade increases access, including by children and young adults, to cigarettes and other tobacco products, which remain the biggest avoidable cause of premature death in the EU. This fraudulent practice is also responsible for millions of euros in tax revenue losses for EU countries every year."
The Implementing Regulation on technical standards for the establishment and operation of a traceability system for tobacco products lays down rules that will ensure that all unit packets of tobacco products produced in, destined for or placed on the EU market will be marked with a unique identifier and their movements recorded throughout the supply chain (from the manufacturer to the last level before the retail outlet). It obliges each Member State to appoint an entity (‘ID issuer’) responsible for generating and issuing the unique identifiers, and lays down clear rules to ensure that the traceability system remains fully independent – notably from the tobacco industry, and that functions are carried out impartially.
The Implementing Decision on technical standards for security features applied to tobacco products obliges EU countries to require security features, composed of at least five types of authentication elements (including overt, covert and semi-covert), to be applied to unit packets of tobacco products. One of these elements must be provided by an independent third party provider. Member States must ensure they have the necessary means to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the security features.
EU countries and economic operators can now start preparatory work for the two systems of traceability and security features. These should be in place by 20 May 2019 for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco and by 24 May 2024, for all other tobacco products (such as cigars, cigarillos and smokeless tobacco products).
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