Track-and-trace system for tobacco products: positive result after one year

Europe’s track-and-trace system: Mandatory identification of tobacco products to protect against illicit trade and to protect consumers.

  • Digital IDs for cigarettes and fine-cut tobacco since 20 May 2019
  • More than 400,000 economic operators already successfully registered
  • Manufacturers and importers of cigars and pipe tobacco to be included from May 2024

Berlin, 20 May 2020 – Precisely one year has passed since it became possible to digitally track the movement of legal cigarettes and fine-cut tobacco across Europe right down to single-packet level. Beginning 2024, this mandatory identification will be expanded to include all other tobacco products, such as cigars and pipe tobacco.

This so-called track-and-trace system was implemented as part of EU legislation to control tobacco (Tobacco Products Directive). Tobacco products are marked with a traceable unique identifier and a forge-proof security feature. As the national issuing authority for Germany, Bundesdruckerei registers all the participating economic operators and issues the individual unique identifiers.

Within the first year, Bundesdruckerei successfully registered a total of 400,000 economic operators, making it possible to track all transport and retail routes of tobacco products both within and outside the EU. In this way, the movement of cigarettes and fine-cut tobacco packets are tracked along the entire supply chain for goods produced and sold in the European Union (EU). The packets are traced using the digital IDs generated by the issuing authorities. In Germany, producers themselves can attach a digital ID to each packet or the digital IDs are available printed on the tobacco stamp.

Producers and importers of cigars and pipe tobacco will be required to implement the Tobacco Product Directive from 20 May 2024. They too will be able to purchase the unique identifies both in electronic or in physical form on tobacco stamps. This choice between physical or electronic form gives small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, time to prepare their production systems for the new system. When it comes to the registration and issuing of the unique identifiers, manufacturers and importers also benefit from Bundesdruckerei’s wealth of experience in productive operation.

More information and details are published and continuously updated in the FAQs on Bundesdruckerei's website.