Track and trace, the second phase of the EUTPD II legislation, comes into force next month. To make sure retailers are aware of the actions they need to take to ensure they continue to sell tobacco legally, JTI’s head of communications, Mark Yexley, answers the biggest questions about the new legislation

Company CV

Company JTI

Head of communications Mark Yexley

Profile JTI is one of the top five tobacco manufacturers in the world, owning brands such as Camel, Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut, as well as next-generation brand Logic. 

Latest news In March, JTI launched a new value-for-money e-liquid range under its Logic brand, Logic Epiq.

RN What do retailers need to know about the introduction of track and trace?

Mark Yexley My Track and trace is the next phase of EUTPD II, which came into effect in 2016. Coming into force on 20 May, it will require tobacco manufacturers to place a unique code on all tobacco products, including individual packs, outers, cases and pallets. 

The legislation is designed to combat the illicit trade by ensuring tobacco products can be tracked throughout the supply chain.

RN What do retailers need to do to make sure they are ready? 

Mark Yexley Retailers will need to register for a free Economic Operator ID Code (EOID) for their business and a separate Facility ID Code (FID) for each of their premises that is used to store or sell tobacco products.

To obtain the codes, retailers must apply to the government-appointed ID issuer, De La Rue. There will be a phased opening to the application process depending on the size of
the retailer. 

From 20 May, retailers will need to provide their EOID and FIDs when purchasing tobacco products but, other than applying for these codes, there will be minimal noticeable changes to retailers as a result of the legislation, and no direct impact on customers. 

Track and trace will only apply to stock produced after the 20 May deadline, and there will be a year’s sell-through period for any existing, non-track and trace stock.

RN Do you expect track and trace to help fight illicit trade?

Mark Yexley While criminals will continue to counterfeit, they will now have to replicate five new security features, which will make it harder for them. 

The need for EOID and FID codes should also act as a deterrent for retailers who are selling illegal tobacco alongside genuine products, as they could potentially lose the right to trade tobacco, among any other penalties that HMRC decides to apply. 

RN How can retailers make sure they are only selling legitimate stock?

Mark Yexley Retailers can make sure they’re selling legitimate stock by only purchasing tobacco from reputable wholesalers that are registered, and scan tobacco products in and out of their depots.

RN What should retailers do if they suspect illicit trading in their area? 

Mark Yexley It is crucial retailers get involved in the fight against illicit trade. Not only does it damage legitimate retailers and their businesses, but it also undermines efforts to stop children from having access to tobacco products. 

The illegal tobacco trade also has strong links to organised crime – the people bringing counterfeit tobacco into the UK are the same as those trafficking drugs, arms and even people.

JTI’s anti-illicit tobacco campaign, ‘Don’t be complicit in illicit’, calls on retailers and the public to join the fight against the illicit tobacco trade. We encourage any retailer who suspects illicit tobacco is being sold in their area to visit our site (jtiadvance.co.uk/dontbecomplicit) to report it anonymously. 

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