SFP welcomes the entry into force of the EU system for the tracking and tracing of tobacco products

Monday, 20 May 2019

Brussels, 20 May 2019 – The Smoke Free Partnership welcomes the entry into force of the EU system for the tracking and tracing of tobacco products, a revolutionary tool to curb illicit tobacco trade at the regional level. The EU tracking and tracing system, introduced in the EU tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU (1) and developed through secondary legislation (2) aims to control the supply chain of products legally manufactured or imported on the EU’s  internal market.

As of today 20 May 2019, all products manufactured or imported into the European Union will have to carry a unique identification marking and will be traced until the first retail outlet, with all transaction data stored in independent repositories (3). Products will also carry a security feature designed to assure their authenticity (4). Tracking and tracing applies as of today at the manufacturer / importer level on all cigarettes and roll-your own tobacco. Products manufactured or imported prior to today’s deadline can be sold until 20 May 2020. Tobacco products other than cigarettes or roll your own tobacco will be covered from 2024.

Anca Toma Friedlaender, SFP Director, said: 'The efforts made to bring the EU’s tracking and tracing system online today are commendable. We urge the European Commission and Member states authorities to ensure that all economic operators implement the requirements within the shortest delays, to be vigilant in its monitoring, and to draw lessons from its functioning. As the EU is preparing to take a leading role in the development of a global tracking and tracing regime under the WHO FCTC Protocol to eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, we hope that it will regard its own traceability system, a world first in size and complexity, as an opportunity to learn and improve.'


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The Smoke Free Partnership is a large European coalition of NGOs that works on EU policy analysis and advocacy, mobilising decision makers to make tobacco control a political priority. SFP Main partners are the Belgian Foundation Against Cancer, Cancer Research UK, the Dutch Cancer Society, the European Heart Network, and the Norwegian Cancer Society. Action on Smoking and Health (UK) and La Ligue Contre le Cancer are SFP Associate partners. The SFP Coalition includes over 45 organisations from all over Europe.

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