Five Checks to Ensure You’re Prepared for the New Tobacco Products Directive


A new directive, the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), will take effect in European countries this spring, imposing new rules on how companies in the tobacco supply chain trace products.

The aim of the directive, which also features new security measures, aims to fight the illicit trade in counterfeit tobacco products and also to ensure taxes are paid in all EU countries.

Organisations not complying with the new directive will face financial consequences.

The directive officially comes into force on 19th May 2019, so at the time of writing this blog, there are just four short months to ensure you have the appropriate systems in place to comply with the new directive.

The Measures

All unit packets of tobacco will have new security labels, featuring an EU-TPD unique identifier. This will be displayed as a DotCode or 2D Datamatrix which can be scanned – and it will also be in a human readable form.

All relevant “economic operators” will be required to record the movement of tobacco products and relay this information to an independent organisation, appointed by the European Commission to keep a record of all movement. This data will then be made available to authorities.

Economic Operators

In this new directive, economic operators include wholesalers, retailers and 3rd party logistics providers. From May, these parties need to keep a record of the receipt of tobacco products and record proof of delivery.

This track and trace data must be consistently uploaded to the independent organisation’s repository within a day, with all crucial events prior to the ultimate point of sale also included

Five Steps to Get Ready

1) Ensure you have software in place to record the receipt and movement of tobacco products within your sector of the supply chain.

2) Understand how you will upload this information to the government-sponsored data repository within 24 hours, in order to be compliant with the directive.

3) Check that you have a compliant returns process in place to record the movement of tobacco products back into your sector of the supply chain.

4) Is your hardware up to the challenge? Can the mobile devices used by your team read 2D data carrier codes (e.g. dot code, data matrix, linear bar code)?

5) Read Zebra’s excellent “Responding to the Tobacco Products Directive” Solution Guide for a deeper understanding of the directive and how to ensure compliance.

Zebra Solution Guide: Responding to the Tobacco Products Directive









Read the Zebra Solution Guide