Guidance

Selling and storing tobacco products

What you need to do from 20 May 2019 if you sell or store 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.

If you only sell to the public

If you’re the first in the supply chain to make tobacco products available for sale to the public (including vending machine owners), you’re classed as the ‘first retailer’.

You’ll need to ask the ID issuer for:

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

This page will be updated when you can apply for IDs. You will not have to pay for IDs.

Another economic operator, like your wholesaler, can offer to request an economic operator ID and facility IDs for you, but it’s your responsibility to make sure you have them.

You do not have to scan tobacco products if you only make them available for sale to the public. If you store tobacco products in separate premises, you’ll need to get scanning equipment and scan the products.

If you store, distribute or sell to retailers

You’ll need to ask the ID issuer for:

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

This page will be updated when you can apply for IDs. You will not have to pay for IDs.

You’ll also need scanning equipment and software to scan tobacco products - ask the importer or manufacturer of the products for more information.

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 the router created by the secondary repository within 24 hours. This will change to 3 hours from 20 May 2028.

More information about this will be published here.

Scanning tobacco products

You must scan tobacco products when they:

  • arrive at your premises
  • leave your premises

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

You do not need to scan them when they arrive at premises where they’ll only be sold to the public.

Ask the importer or manufacturer of the products for more information about getting scanning equipment.

Aggregating unit packets

If you aggregate products (for example, combine unit packets from different pallets onto one pallet), you’ll need to:

  1. Buy a new aggregate UID from the ID issuer, or generate one yourself - the UID must meet certain standards.
  2. Encode the aggregate UID so it can be scanned.
  3. Put the new aggregate UID on the aggregated packaging.
  4. Link the aggregate UIDs to the unit packets inside.
  5. Scan the aggregate UID when you disaggregate products if you intend to use it again.
Published 29 January 2019