Manufacturing and importing tobacco products

What you need to do if you manufacture or import tobacco products in the UK.

All unit packets of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco manufactured or imported in the UK (except for stock manufactured or imported before 20 May 2019) must:

From May 2024, this will apply to all products containing tobacco.

Existing stock

You do not need to have security features or UIDs on the packaging of cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco that’s:

  • manufactured in the EU before 20 May 2019
  • imported into the EU and has left duty suspension before 20 May 2019

They can stay in free circulation until 20 May 2020 - after that, they’ll need to comply with the rules in this guidance.

Put security features on the packaging

You’ll need to find providers of 5 specific security features that must be on the packaging of all unit packets of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco.

Get IDs for your business

You’ll need to register with the ID issuer to get an economic operator ID .

Once registered you’ll be able to sign in to get:

  • machine IDs for all machines used in the manufacturing process
  • facility IDs for all premises where you manufacture, store or sell your products

You will not have to pay for these IDs.

Put UIDs on the packaging

For your products, you’ll need to get:

  • unit packet UIDs
  • aggregate UIDs

You’ll need to encode them into barcodes and put them on the packaging of your tobacco products.

Find out:

Aggregate UID specifications

Aggregate UIDs must meet one of the following standards (or their latest equivalents):

  • ISO 15459-1:2014
  • ISO 15459-4:2014

Record sales

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

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

You must send this information to your data repository within 24 hours.

Find out more about recording sales and the information you’ll need to send to your repository.

Scan your products

You must scan your products when:

  • you apply the unit packet UID
  • you apply the aggregated packaging UID
  • they leave your premises
  • they arrive at your premises

Find out more about scanning and the information you’ll need to send to your repository.

Get an anti-tamper device

You must have an anti-tamper device installed on your production line by 20 May 2019, unless:

  • your manufacturing process is fully manual
  • you’ll manufacture less than 120 million unit packets in 2019 - you must have the device installed by 20 May 2020
  • you’re a small or medium sized enterprise - you must have the device installed by 20 May 2021

The device must verify that the unit packet UIDs have been applied correctly and can be scanned. It needs to record this information by either video or a log file that cannot be altered.

You must reapply a unit packet UID if the device confirms that it:

  • has been incorrectly applied
  • is not fully readable

The information recorded by the anti-tamper device must be:

  • kept for 9 months
  • given to HMRC if they request it

The provider of the anti-tamper device must meet certain criteria for being independent from the tobacco industry.

If your anti-tamper device provider is no longer independent, HMRC will tell you how long you have to either:

  • find a new anti-tamper device provider
  • make sure your existing provider takes action to meet the independence criteria

Get data storage

You must appoint a provider of data storage, where the UIDs and recorded movements of your products will be stored.

The provider of the data storage must meet certain criteria for being independent from the tobacco industry.

You must tell the European Commission which data storage provider you intend to use, as they’ll need to approve it.

Appoint an auditor

You must appoint an independent auditor who will check that your data repository is protecting the data properly.

The auditor will need to be approved by the Commission, and send them annual reports.

More information about this will be published here.

Provide scanning equipment

You must provide all economic operators involved in the trade of your products, up to the first retailer, with equipment and software that:

  • can scan your products
  • electronically sends scanned information to a central repository

Transporting and transloading

Check what you need to do if you also transport or transload tobacco products.

Exporting tobacco products

If you manufacture tobacco products in the UK and export them outside the EU, you:

When you scan products at the last facility in the EU, the dispatch message will need to include the address of the destination instead of a facility ID code.

If the shipment weighs 10kg or less, and you export them using a service that will track the products, you need to scan the products when they enter the service’s tracking system and include the tracking number – they do not need to be scanned after that.

Published 29 January 2019
Last updated 20 May 2019 + show all updates
  1. Information about what to do if you export tobacco products has been added.
  2. You can now register with the ID issuer and buy UIDs for your tobacco products. Links to new guidance about this has been added.
  3. More information has been added about tobacco product unique identifiers (UIDs), appointing a data storage provider, and providing scanning equipment.
  4. First published.