Detailed guide: Manufacturing and importing tobacco products
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:
From May 2024, this will apply to all products containing tobacco.
You do not need to have security features or UIDs on the packaging of cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco that’s:
- manufactured in the EU before 20 May 2019
- imported into the EU and has left duty suspension before 20 May 2019
They can stay in free circulation until 20 May 2020 – after that, they’ll need to comply with the rules in this guidance.
Put security features on the packaging
You’ll need to find providers of 5 specific security features that must be on the packaging of all unit packets of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco.
Get IDs for your business
You’ll need to register with the ID issuer to get an economic operator ID .
Once registered you’ll be able to sign in to get:
- machine IDs for all machines used in the manufacturing process
- facility IDs for all premises where you manufacture, store or sell your products
You will not have to pay for these IDs.
Put UIDs on the packaging
For your products, you’ll need to get:
- unit packet UIDs
- aggregate UIDs
You’ll need to encode them into barcodes and put them on the packaging of your tobacco products.
Aggregate UID specifications
Aggregate UIDs must meet one of the following standards (or their latest equivalents):
- ISO 15459-1:2014
- ISO 15459-4:2014
You’ll need to record when, for a specific product, you:
- issue an order number
- generate an invoice
- receive payment
You must send this information to your data repository within 24 hours.
Find out more about recording sales and the information you’ll need to send to your repository.
Scan your products
You must scan your products when:
- you apply the unit packet UID
- you apply the aggregated packaging UID
- they leave your premises
- they arrive at your premises
Find out more about scanning and the information you’ll need to send to your repository.
Get an anti-tamper device
You must have an anti-tamper device installed on your production line by 20 May 2019, unless:
- your manufacturing process is fully manual
- you’ll manufacture less than 120 million unit packets in 2019 – you must have the device installed by 20 May 2020
- you’re a small or medium sized enterprise – you must have the device installed by 20 May 2021
The device must verify that the unit packet UIDs have been applied correctly and can be scanned. It needs to record this information by either video or a log file that cannot be altered.
You must reapply a unit packet UID if the device confirms that it:
- has been incorrectly applied
- is not fully readable
The information recorded by the anti-tamper device must be:
- kept for 9 months
- given to HMRC if they request it
The provider of the anti-tamper device must meet certain criteria for being independent from the tobacco industry.
If your anti-tamper device provider is no longer independent, HMRC will tell you how long you have to either:
- find a new anti-tamper device provider
- make sure your existing provider takes action to meet the independence criteria
Get data storage
You must appoint a provider of data storage, where the UIDs and recorded movements of your products will be stored.
The provider of the data storage must meet certain criteria for being independent from the tobacco industry.
You must tell the European Commission which data storage provider you intend to use, as they’ll need to approve it.
Appoint an auditor
You must appoint an independent auditor who will check that your data repository is protecting the data properly.
The auditor will need to be approved by the Commission, and send them annual reports.
More information about this will be published here.
Provide scanning equipment
You must provide all economic operators involved in the trade of your products, up to the first retailer, with equipment and software that:
- can scan your products
- electronically sends scanned information to a central repository
Transporting and transloading
Exporting tobacco products
If you manufacture tobacco products in the UK and export them outside the EU, you:
When you scan products at the last facility in the EU, the dispatch message will need to include the address of the destination instead of a facility ID code.
If the shipment weighs 10kg or less, and you export them using a service that will track the products, you need to scan the products when they enter the service’s tracking system and include the tracking number – they do not need to be scanned after that.