Guidance

Manufacturing and importing tobacco products

What you need to do from 20 May 2019 if you manufacture or import tobacco products in the EU.

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
  • be scanned at certain points in the supply chain

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
  • 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.

This page will be updated when you can apply for IDs.

Get UIDs for your products

For your products, you’ll need to get:

  • unit packet UIDs - you need to buy these from the ID issuer
  • aggregate UIDs - you can buy these from the ID issuer, or generate them yourself

This page will be updated when you can apply for UIDs.

The UIDs will be made up of letters and numbers, which you’ll need to generate scannable codes (like a barcode) from.

So your products can be scanned at certain points in the supply chain, you:

  • must put unit UIDs on every unit packet
  • can put aggregate UIDs on anything that holds more than one unit packet - you need to link these to the unit packets that it contains

Examples of what can be classed as ‘aggregated packaging’ include:

  • cartons
  • master cases
  • pallets
  • trailers
  • shipping containers

Aggregate UID specifications

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

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

Recording 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 primary repository within 24 hours. This will change to 3 hours from 20 May 2028.

More information about this will be published here.

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

Get an anti-tampering device

You must install an anti-tampering device on your production lines by 20 May 2019.

The provider of the anti-tampering device must meet certain independence criteria.

More information about this will be published here.

Get a data repository

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

You must tell the EU Commission which data repository you intend to use.

More information about this will be published here.

Supply scanning equipment

You’ll need to supply other economic operators with the scanning equipment and software needed to scan your products through the supply chain.

More information about this will be published here.

Published 29 January 2019