Track & Trace for Tobacco Products: All You Need to Know

From 20 May 2019, retailers must have unique codes in order to store and sell tobacco products under new track and trace laws.

The NFRN has produced a guide to help you prepare for the changes.

If you require further assistance, please email publicaffairs@nfrn.org.uk

HMRC says pre-registration will open on 23 April 2019

HMRC has said that pre-registration to obtain IDs and get ready for the introduction of the ‘Track & Trace’ system for tobacco products will begin on 23 April. Authentication manufacturer De La Rue is setting up a ‘customer care functionality’ that will open on that day.

As part of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) 2014/40/EU, if you want to sell tobacco products after 20 May 2019, you will need to obtain before that date:

  • An economic operator ID (for you business)
  • A separate facility IDs for each premises you use to:
    Sell tobacco products to the public, and
    Store tobacco products.

You will not have to pay for IDs. These must be obtained before 20 May 2019.

If you employ up to 50 people, you may ask your supplier to obtain an ID on your behalf. However, it is up to each wholesaler to decide whether they will offer this service. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to obtain your IDs before 20 May 2019.

Make sure you talk to your tobacco supplier about obtaining your IDs.

HMRC is expected to publish more detailed guidance shortly. We will update the guidance on this page.

 

Track & Trace – what you need to know

Further guidance on the new ‘Track & Trace’ system for tobacco products can be found below.

For advice on other tobacco law changes, visit our Tobacco Products Directive page.

What does the law say?

From 20 May 2019, all unit packets of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco manufactured or imported in the EU (except for existing stock) must:

  • have Unique Identifiers (UIDs) on the packaging
  • have 5 specific security features on the packaging
  • and be scanned at certain points in the supply chain

Retailers will need to obtain:

  • An economic operator ID (for you business)
  • A separate facility IDs for each premises you use to:
    sell tobacco products to the public
    store tobacco products.

The regulatory changes derives from the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU). The Directive provides for the establishment of an EU-wide ‘Track & Trace system’ for the legal supply chain of tobacco products and a system of security features to help citizens and authorities detect illicit products.

What are your obligations as a retailer?

Retailers wishing to continue selling tobacco products will need to have two IDs:

  • an economic operator ID
  • a separate facility IDs for each premises you use to:
    sell tobacco products to the public
    store tobacco products

You will not have to pay for IDs.

Retailers selling tobacco products and employing up to 50 people may ask their supplier to obtain an identification number on their behalf.

We don’t know yet the process for requesting codes. HMRC is expected to publish the details shortly.

You WILL NOT Need scanning equipment if...

You will not need any new equipment to manage the tobacco products in your store if you:

  • only sell tobacco products to the public
  • only receive the products in-store

You do not need to scan the products when they arrive at premises where they will only be sold to the public.

You WILL NEED scanning equipment if...

You will need scanning equipment if you:

  • store tobacco products at a different address to your shops
  • store, distribute or sell tobacco products to other retailers

Then you will need scanning equipment to record the movement of the products.

The tobacco industry will provide the equipment. Ask the importer or manufacturer of the products for more information.

You will need to record when, for a specific product, you:

  • issue an order number
  • generate an invoice
  • and receive payment

You must send this information to the router created by the secondary repository within 24 hours. This will change to 3 hours from 20 May 2028.

You must scan tobacco products when they:

  • arrive at your premises
  • and leave your premises.

This includes when they are moved between premises that have a different facility ID.

Transporting Tobacco Products

You do not need to scan products if you transport products only and do not move them between vehicles.

However, you will need to scan tobacco products if you ‘transload’ them.

What is transloading?

  • moving tobacco products from one vehicle to another
  • when you know their final destination when you remove them from the vehicle

It means you will also have to scan products if you:

  • store products at a different address to your shops
  • distribute tobacco products within your business
  • sell tobacco products to other businesses

The products do not need to be placed onto another vehicle immediately, but there must be people or vehicles with the products at all times until they’re put onto another vehicle.

You must scan the products up to 24 hours before they’re transloaded. From 20 May 2028 you’ll need to scan them up to 3 hours before.

Contact the importer or manufacturer of the products who will provide you with scanning equipment.

Next Steps

Talk to your tobacco supplier about obtaining an identification number.

Talk to your supplier or manufacturer if you:

  • store, distribute or sell tobacco products to other retailers you will need to obtain equipment to record the movement of these products
  • transload tobacco products (cf. section ‘Transporting tobacco products’)
  • store them at a different address to their shops
Non Compliance

If you do not have the correct IDs, you will lose your ability to purchase tobacco products.

Under the proposals laid out by HMRC in its current consultation, you will also lose it if you have:

  • sold illicit tobacco on three or more occasions within any 12-month period, and as a result illicit tobacco has been seized
  • failed to rectify their non-compliance after being issued a compliance notice
  • received a fine of £10,000 or more for the sales of illicit products
  • a conviction for the sales of illicit goods under the Customs and Excise Acts
  • or if you haven’t used your IDs in the last 12-months

Timeline

The dates you need to keep in mind when preparing for Track & Trace.

March/April 2019: The NFRN will update you when HMRC publishes processes to obtain ID codes and new equipment.

Spring 2019: HMRC is running a consultation a technical consultation on the draft Tobacco Products (Traceability and Security Features) Regulations 2019. The consultation closes on 11 March 2019. The NFRN will inform you of the consultation outcomes.

20 May 2019: Track & Trace starts being implemented. You must have received your ID codes and scanning equipment before that date.

20 May 2020: Retailers must have sold all tobacco products without security features or unique identifier codes.

20 May 2024: Track & Trace will apply to all products containing tobacco.

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