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 must:
have unique identifiers (UIDs) on the packaging
have 5 specific security features on the packaging if they are manufactured or imported for the UK market
be scanned at certain points in the supply chain
From May 2024, this will apply to all products containing tobacco.
Goods placed on the market before 1 January 2020
Goods placed on the market in the EU or UK before 1 January 2021 can continue to move through the supply chain until they reach their end user.
This means tobacco product placed on the EU or UK market before 1 January 2021 can continue to be move through the UK supply chain without needing to replace the UIDs.
Businesses should continue to scan all products as they move through the UK. You will not need to differentiate between products placed on the market before or after 1 January 2021.
If you have any questions about products placed on the market moving through the EU or with a UID issued by an EU member state, you should contact the relevant authority in the EU member state.
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 UK 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.
Aggregate UID specifications
Aggregate UIDs must meet one of the following standards (or their latest equivalents):
- ISO 15459-1:2014
- ISO 15459-4:2014
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 the UK gateway within 24 hours.
If your business is involved in the supply of products to Northern Ireland, you must send this information to the UK gateway and the EU repository system.
Find out more about recording sales and the information you’ll need to send to the UK gateway.
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 the UK gateway.
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’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 - Northern Ireland only
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 the UK gateway, and the EU repository system for businesses involved in supplying products in Northern Ireland
Transporting and transloading
Exporting tobacco products
If you manufacture tobacco products in the UK and export them, you:
- need to put unit UIDs on the packaging
- do not need to put the 5 security features on the packaging
- should check the rules of the country you are exporting to
When you scan products 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.