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Systems for tobacco traceability and security features

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Fighting illicit trade in tobacco products

Articles 15 and 16 of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU (TPD) provide for EU-wide systems of traceability and security features for tobacco products to address the issue of illicit trade.

Traceability system

The traceability system aims to:

  • Contribute to reducing the circulation of non-compliant tobacco products
  • Reduce artificially cheap supplies of illegal tobacco products
  • Protect public health, State budgets, and legal economic operators. 

Under the traceability system:

  • All unit packets of tobacco products will be required to be marked with a unique identifier
  • Relevant economic operators involved in tobacco trade will be required to record the movements of these packets throughout the supply chain and transmit the related information to an independent provider (data storage contracts to be approved by the Commission)
  • The data will then be made accessible to the authorities of EU countries and to the Commission for enforcement purposes.

In this way, it will be possible to track and trace the movement of legal tobacco products to allow public authorities to determine when a product was diverted into the illicit market.

Security features system

Under the security features system, all unit packets of tobacco products placed on the EU market will be required to:

  • Carry a tamper-proof security feature composed of visible and invisible elements, enabling authorities and consumers to verify their authenticity.

The systems of traceability and security features must be in place by:

  • 20 May 2019 for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco
  • 20 May 2024 for all other tobacco products. 

This will provide manufacturers of other tobacco products (which are often small and medium enterprises (SMEs)) with a longer period to adapt to and benefit from the experience gained before the systems become applicable to them.

Relevant legislative acts

Articles 15 and 16 of the TPD require the Commission to adopt implementing and delegated acts to lay down the technical details necessary for the systems of traceability and security features for tobacco products to become fully operational. These acts were adopted on 15 December 2017 and published in the Official Journal of the EU of 16 April 2018.

The acts are published on the following pages:

  1. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/574 on technical standards for the establishment and operation of a traceability system for tobacco products (incl. Annex I and II): 7
  2. Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/573 on key elements of data storage contracts to be concluded as part of a traceability system for tobacco products: 1
  3. Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/576 on technical standards for security features applied to tobacco products: 57

Timeline of actions required before 20 May 2019 under Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/574 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/573.

Impact Assessment accompanying Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/574 on technical standards for the establishment and operation of a traceability system for tobacco products and Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/576 on technical standards for security features applied to tobacco products.

Executive summary of Impact Assessment

Annexes accompanying Impact Assessment

Notification of proposed primary data storage providers and draft data storage contracts

Pursuant to Article 15(8) of the TPD, manufacturers and importers of tobacco products must conclude data storage contracts with an independent third party.

According to Part A of Annex I (paragraph 1) to the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/574 on technical standards for the establishment and operation of a traceability system for tobacco products, each manufacturer and importer is required to submit, no later than two months following the entry into force of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/573 on key elements of data storage contracts to be concluded as part of a traceability system for tobacco products:

  1. the identity of the third party that it proposes to appoint to operate a primary repository ("the proposed provider");
  2. a draft data storage contract containing the key elements laid down in Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/573

for approval by the Commission.

As set out in Part A of Annex I (paragraph 2) of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/574, this notification must be accompanied by:

  1. a written declaration of technical and operational expertise, referred to in Article 4 of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/573;
  2. a written declaration of legal and financial independence, referred to in Article 8 of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/573;
  3. a table setting out correspondence between the contractual clauses and the requirements laid down in Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/573.

Procedure for notification

Submitting parties are requested to send the required documentation to the following email address: SANTE-TT-SW@ec.europa.eu

You should expect to receive an email acknowledging the receipt of your documents. Should you fail to receive such an email within 5 working days, please contact the secretariat of SANTE B2 Tobacco Control at the following numbers: +32 229-96269, or +32 229-92406.

Submitting parties are asked:

  1. To use the following templates for the purpose of their submissions:
  1. To submit the data storage contract in the MS Word format.

Please note that lists of notified and approved third parties shall be made publicly available by the Commission on its website.

Regional workshops and webinars

The European Commission will organise a series of regional workshop and webinars to support the technical roll-out of the systems for tobacco traceability and security features.

The European Commission will organise a series of regional workshop and webinars to support the technical roll-out of the systems for tobacco traceability and security features.

Workshop No 3 (Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, France and Luxembourg) – 15 March 2018, Stockholm

Workshop No 2 (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania) – 15 February 2018, Bucharest

Workshop No 1 (Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Sweden and UK) – 25 January 2018, Stockholm

 

Note: This webpage will be further updated in coming weeks in order to provide you with more detailed information on the establishment and implementation of systems of traceability and security features for tobacco products. Subject matters that will be covered include:

  • general outline of responsibilities per stakeholder;
  • appointment of ID issuers;
  • notified and approved providers of primary repositories;
  • selection and approval of the provider of the secondary repository;
  • question and answer (Q&A) section.