Under the Tobacco Products Directive that took effect on 20 May, legal cigarette sales in the EU will be tracked and traced from May 2019. Member states must specifically ensure that all unit packets of tobacco products are marked with a unique identifier.
“The Commission considers that the combination of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products negotiated in the context of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are the best instruments to fight illicit trade by regulatory means,” the then Budget Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva noted.
The European Commission published the final two draft Implementing and Delegated acts on the track and trace system and a public consultation closed on 2 October. Several member states, including France, Germany and Italy criticised the proposal, citing its complexity and administrative burden.
In a letter to the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU distributors’ union said the executive’s proposal was “extremely cumbersome and costly and above all, will add little or no value to the fight against the illicit trade”.