Tobacco

Systems for tobacco traceability and security features

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. The systems will contribute to reducing the circulation of tobacco products not compliant with the TPD and other tobacco control legislation, as well as to reducing artificially cheap supplies of illegal tobacco products that have been found to affect the uptake and general prevalence of smoking. Therefore, the systems will play an important role in protecting public health, State budgets, and legal economic operators. 

Under the traceability system, all unit packets of tobacco products produced in, destined for, or placed on, the EU market will be required to be marked with a unique identifier and their movements recorded throughout the supply chain (from the manufacturer to the last level before the first retail outlet). Information on the recorded movements will then be transmitted to and stored by an independent data storage provider (with which manufacturers and importers of tobacco products will conclude data storage contracts, to be approved by the Commission), and the data will be made accessible to the competent authorities of the Member States and the Commission for enforcement purposes. In this way, the traceability system will enable the movement of legal tobacco products to be monitored (tracking) and allow the public authorities to determine at which point a product was diverted into the illicit market, or vice versa (tracing).

Under the security features system, all unit packets of tobacco products placed on the EU market will be required to be marked with a tamper-proof security feature composed of visible and invisible elements. This will enable authorities as well as consumers to verify the authenticity of tobacco products.

The systems of traceability and security features must be in place by 20 May 2019 for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco, and by 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.

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. These acts can be accessed via the following links (please note that the Delegated Regulation on key elements of data storage contracts to be concluded as part of a traceability system for tobacco products is currently under review by the European Parliament and Council, in line with the procedures set out in Article 27(5) of the TPD. The Implementing Regulation on technical standards for the establishment and operation of a traceability system for tobacco products as well as the Implementing Decision on technical standards for Security Features will be published in the Official Journal in due course):

  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

 

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.