Transporting tobacco products

What you need to do if you transport or transload tobacco products in the EU.

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:

  • 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.

You need to scan tobacco products when you ‘transload’ them - move them from one vehicle to another.

If you transport products only and do not move them between vehicles, you do not need to scan them.


If you transload tobacco products, you need to:

  • register for an economic operator ID from the ID issuer
  • get scanning equipment from the manufacturer or importer of the products
  • scan the products up to 24 hours before they’re transloaded (put onto another vehicle) - from 20 May 2028 you’ll need to scan them up to 3 hours before
  • get the facility ID of the final destination of the products

For the movement of the products to be classed as transloading, you must know their final destination when you remove them from the vehicle.

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.

Vending van delivery

A vending van is a vehicle used for the delivery of tobacco products to multiple retail outlets in quantities that have not been decided upon in advance of the delivery.

If you deliver tobacco products through a vending van, you need to register for an economic operator ID from the ID issuer.

You must scan the products in the 24 hours before they leave your premises. You have up to 24 hours to scan them for any other reason.

You will need to include facility ID codes for all retail outlets you are visiting as part of the message submitted when you scan products leaving your premises. You will also need to scan purchases by each retail outlet individually with their facility ID code and the UIDs of all products they purchased.

Any products unsold from the delivery will need to be scanned back into your premises on your return.

Getting scanning equipment

The importer or manufacturer of the products will need to provide you with equipment to scan them. You should ask them for more information if they do not contact you.

If you also manufacture, import, or export

Check what you need to do if you also manufacture or import tobacco products, or export them outside the EU.

If you also store or sell

Check what you need to do if you also store or sell tobacco products.

Published 22 February 2019
Last updated 1 May 2019 + show all updates
  1. You can now register with the ID issuer to get IDs for your business. Links to new guidance about this has been added.
  2. Information about transporting and delivering tobacco products from a vending van has been added to this guidance.
  3. First published.