Last call for tobacco track-and-trace compliance in EU

From midnight tonight, retailers across the EU will be unable to sell any packs of cigarettes that don’t comply with new tobacco track-and-trace regulations.

In practice, that means all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco packaging must display the track-and-trace coding required by the Tobacco Products Directive, and all old, non-compliant stock has to be removed from sale or display beforehand. It will also be illegal to sell menthol and capsule cigarettes.

Retailers also have to have their Economic Operator Identifier Code (EOIC) in order to continue to store and sell tobacco products, which they obtain through the national issuer, such as De La Rue in the UK. Any facility storing tobacco will also have to have a Facility Identifier Code (FIC).

The track-and-trace provision came into effect last year, but there was a 12-month window for stocks of product manufactured/imported.

In the UK, tobacco company JTI has said it will accept return of “all non-compliant track and trace and menthol and capsule stock held by every retailer who our sales reps visit”, despite the logistical issues posed by the coronavirus crisis.

“We will aim to uplift this stock within 12 weeks from the time our sales reps return to the trade,” it added in a statement.

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