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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 can be accessed via the following links:

  1. Commission Implementing Regulation on traceability for tobacco products
  2. Annex 1 to Commission Implementing Regulation on traceability for tobacco products
  3. Annex 2 to Commission Implementing Regulation on traceability for tobacco products
  4. Commission Delegated Regulation on data storage contracts
  5. Commission Implementing Decision on security features for tobacco products
  6. Annex to Commission Implementing Decision on security features for tobacco products

Please note: The Commission intends to publish these acts jointly in the Official Journal, together with their annexes. The publication will take place once both co-legislators (European Parliament / Council) complete their review without objecting to the Commission Delegated Regulation on key elements of data storage contracts to be concluded as part of a traceability system for tobacco products.

During the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 29 January 2018, the Council confirmed it will not object to the Commission Delegated Regulation. The European Parliament has decided to extend the scrutiny period for the Commission Delegated Regulation until 15 April 2018. No further extension is possible beyond this.

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 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.