The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 24 November 2020

Traceability of tobacco products

Unit packets of cigarettes and roll-you-own tobacco provided to consumers in Sweden must be marked with a unique identifier to track and trace the products throughout the supply chain down to the retail level.

The aim of the traceability system is to combat illicit trade in tobacco products. Currently it covers cigarettes and all roll-your-own tobacco produced in or imported into the European Union. In order to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products, the unit packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco must be marked with a unique identifier.

More about the labelling and packaging of tobacco products

More about traceability and security features

A decision on the introduction of an EU-wide system for traceability and security feature was taken in the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) and specified in the complementary EU legislation.

Traceability rules entered into force on 20 May 2019 and cover cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco. Other tobacco products will be covered with effect from 20 May 2024.

Transitional provisions allow actors to sell cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco manufactured before 20 May 2019 until 20 May 2020. From May 2020, only cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco marked with unique identifiers may be sold.

This page contains information about:

The traceability system

In short, the traceability system means that all economic operators involved in the supply chain of tobacco products must have a unique identifier code. Facilities (e.g. production facilities, warehouses, terminals, retail outlets) and machines must also have identifier codes. All unit packets of tobacco products must carry a unique identifier (UI), also known as traceability marking. When the unit packet is handled and transported, the events shall be recorded and the information transferred to a central database. Financial transactions linked to the tobacco product are also recorded in the database.

A tobacco product may not be sold if it does not have the UI. Identifier codes and UIs generated and issued by the authorised ID issuer.

Figure. System structure of the traceability system

Source: The illustration is taken from the Commission's manual for affected parties.

Secondary repository

The secondary repository is a central database that contains a copy of all traceability data that is stored in the primary repositories.

After a procurement process, the Commission has appointed Dentsu Aegis Network Switzerland AG as the supplier of the secondary repository. More information on and from the supplier can be found on the European Commission's website.

The secondary repository provides technical specifications and the common data directory for the traceability system. These documents and other information are available on the website for financial actors that Dentsu Aegis has posted.

Primary repository

Manufacturers and importers shall establish a database for the storage of all traceability data for that manufacturer’s or importer’s own products, which is referred to as a primary repository.

National ID issuer

An ID issuer is responsible for generating and issuing identifier codes for economic operators, facilities and machines, as well as unique identifiers for unit packets of tobacco products (UIs), which are ordered by manufacturers and importers. The ID issuer can also generate and issue unique identifiers for aggregated packaging of tobacco products.

The ID issuer shall create offline flat files and keep records of the identification codes issued, as well as ensuring that an updated copy of all offline flat files, register and associated explanatory notices is transmitted to the secondary repository.

The Public Health Agency is the national ID issuer and has the right to hand over the assignment to a private actor. Following a procurement process, the Agency has signed an agreement with the Slovak company Allexis s.r.o. as the role of national ID issuer.

The ID issuer Allexis’ unique identification code is QCALL and all identifier codes and UIs issued by Allexis begin with this code.

ID issuer's website idissuer.se

Registration of economic operators, facilities and machines

If you participate in the business of the supply chain for tobacco products released onto the Swedish market, you must have a unique identifier code, both as an economic operator and for your facilities and machines.

Authorised ID Issuer

Unique identifier codes are applied for from the authorised ID issuer. If your business is located in Sweden or you have facility or machines in Sweden, the authorised ID issuer is Allexis s.r.o.

Allexis s.r.o. is also the authorised ID issuer for the unique identifiers (UIs) to be applied to all unit packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco that are made available to consumers on the Swedish market.

The European Commission's Implementing Regulation 2018/574 has more rules on which member state ID issuer is authorised to generate and issue UIs for tobacco products and identifier codes for economic operators, facilities and machines. The European Commission's website also has, under the heading "Competent ID issuers", a list of the national ID issuers appointed within the Union, as well as information about the application of the exemption in Article 4(1).

Information concerning tobacco manufacturers and importers

Applying for identifier codes from the ID issuer

If you are a manufacturer or importer of tobacco products (cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco), you must apply for an identifier code from the ID issuer of the country where production takes place or of the country to which the products are imported. If you have facility in Sweden, you must apply for identifier codes for these facilities from the national ID issuer for Sweden, Allexis s.r.o.

Application for identifier codes from Allexis

The application for identifier codes is made in two stages. You receive your identifier code as an economic operator by registration using the form available on the ID issuer's website. You are then able to log in to the ID issuer's system to apply for identifier codes for facilities and machines.

It is important that the facility is stated as type 1 — Manufacturing site with warehouse.

For information on how to proceed, visit the ID issuer's website. If your situation as an economic operator changes, you must update the information with the ID issuer.

Unit level unique identifiers for tobacco products

For the tobacco products (cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco) that you intend to make available in Sweden, you must apply for unique unit level unique identifiers (UIs) from the Swedish ID issuer. You are responsible for attaching these UIs to the unit packets and to record and store all events related to your tobacco products in your primary repository.

More information on UIs markings: Traceability and security markings

Fees for unit level unique identifiers

The ID issuer may only charge fees for electronically supplied unit level unique identifiers (UIs). The fee is laid down by the Government in Regulation (2019:224) on fees for unique identification markings on tobacco packaging.

Aggregated codes

In order to simplify the registration of tobacco products, aggregated codes can be created. You can choose to create these yourself or apply for unique identifier at aggregated level from the authorised ID issuer.

Each level of aggregation shall be recorded in the repository.

Only if an aggregated code is to be reused must a message that the aggregated code is broken down be sent to the database system.

More information on unique identifiers at aggregated packaging level: Traceability and security feature

Primary repository

If you are a manufacturer or importer, you are responsible for establishing a primary repository in which all transactions relating to your tobacco products shall be recorded.

Data storage

You are responsible for entering into a data storage agreement with an independent third party that will host the data storage facility for all relevant data. The data storage facility shall be physically located in the territory of the European Union. The agreement and the suitability of the third party shall be approved by the European Commission.

Providing equipment

As a manufacturer of tobacco products, you must provide the economic operators involved in the trade in tobacco products with the equipment necessary to register tobacco products that are purchased, sold, stored, transported or otherwise handled.

Those concerned are all operators from manufacturer to the last actor before the retail outlet, including importers, warehouses and transport companies.

Registration of shipment, transhipment and arrival

All actions and movements involving a tobacco product shall be recorded in the database. This also applies to financial transactions.

It is important that events and transactions are reported in the correct order

The European Commission's website has the brochure EU system of Tobacco Traceability: Common reporting mistakes which describes the most common errors and how to correct them. The brochure is available in English: EU System of Tobacco Traceability: Common reporting mistakes.

If tobacco products are destroyed or stolen

If tobacco products are destroyed or stolen after the unique identifier marking has been affixed to the unit packet, you as a manufacturer or importer must send a request for deactivation without delay to the relevant primary database.

What applies to wholesalers

Applying for identifier codes from the ID issuer

If you are a wholesaler or other economic operator involved in the trade in tobacco products (cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco) without selling to consumers, you must apply for identifier codes for yourself as an economic operator and for your facility. The application is made to the national ID issuer.

If you are a wholesaler there are also requirements for permits to trade in tobacco products. An issued identifier code does not replace the requirement to apply for such a permit.

If your customer does not have an identifier code as an operator and an identifier code for their facility, you cannot supply cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco to that customer. You can apply for these codes for your customer, but you must first obtain the customer's approval. When applying for an facility code for another economic operator, it is important that the facility type is stated correctly: for example, retail outlet or standalone warehouse.

Application for identifier codes from Allexis

The application for identifier codes is made in two stages. You receive your identifier code as an economic operator by registering using the form available on the ID issuer's website. You are then able to log in to the ID issuer's system to apply for identifiers codes for facilities.

It is important that the facility is stated as type 2 — standalone warehouse.

For information on how to proceed, visit the ID issuer's website. If your situation as a economic operator changes, you must update the information with the ID issuer.

Aggregated codes

In order to simplify the registration of tobacco products, aggregated codes can be created. When handling tobacco products, you may be opening previously aggregated packaging, such as pallets and transport boxes, and building new transport boxes and pallets. For each aggregation that is made, an unique aggregated identifier code must be created. You can choose to create these yourself or apply for aggregated identifier codes from the authorised ID issuer.

Each level of aggregation shall be recorded via the router to the repository.

Only if an aggregated code is to be reused must a message that the aggregated code is broken down be sent to the repository.

More information on unique identifiers at aggregated packaging level: Traceability and security markings

Registration of arrival, transhipment and shipment

You must record all actions taken for the tobacco products that you handle. The actions to be registered include 'arrival at a plant', 'transiting' (transhipment) and 'shipment from a plant'. The financial transactions (order, invoice and invoice payment) linked to the tobacco product must also be recorded.

Registered data may not be altered or deleted.

Establishing a register

You are responsible for establishing a register of all relevant transactions, as well as for transferring the data via the router to the database system.

It is important that events and transactions are reported in the correct order.

The European Commission has published the EU Traceability System for Tobacco Products Information Sheet (reporting on the movement of goods within the supply chain) for operators involved in the supply chain, showing in general terms what logistical events to report and what is good to think about.

The European Commission's website has the brochure EU system of Tobacco Traceability: Common reporting mistakes which describes the most common errors and how to correct them.

If tobacco products are destroyed or stolen

If tobacco products are destroyed or stolen, you as a wholesaler shall send a request for deactivation of the unique identifier via the router.

What applies to retailers

Applying for identifiers codes from the ID issuer

If you are involved in the retail trade in cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco, you must have identifier codes, both for you as an economic operator and for your facility.

The application is made to the national ID issuer. You can either apply yourself or agree to your supplier or distributor applying for these codes for you. If you make the application yourself, it is important that you provide the identifier codes to the operator who deliver the tobacco products to the retail outlet. If the application is made by your supplier, it is important that you provide the details of these codes to any other tobacco suppliers that you have.

Application for identifier codes from Allexis

The application for identifier codes is made in two stages. You receive your identifier code as an economic operator by registering using the form available on the ID issuer's website. You are then able to log in to the ID issuer's system to apply for identifier codes for facility.

It is important that the facility is stated as type 3 — retail outlet.

For information on how to proceed, visit the ID issuer's website. If your situation as a economic operator changes, you must update the information with the ID issuer.

If you do not have an identifier code as an economic operator and an identifier code for your facility, you cannot obtain supplies of cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco.

There are also requirements for permits for trading in tobacco products. An issued identifier code does not replace the requirement to apply for such a permit.

Transitional rules

Cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco manufactured in the European Union or imported into the Union before 20 May 2019 may be sold without unique identification markings until 20 May 2020.

For other tobacco products that are subject to the traceability rules from 20 May 2024, the transitional rules will apply until 20 May 2026.

If the rules are not complied with

The Public Health Agency is the supervisory authority for manufacturers, importers and wholesalers with regard to traceability markings and traceability. The Public Health Authority may,in its supervisory capacity, issue the injunctions or prohibitions that are necessary for compliance with the law or a regulation issued pursuant to the law. A decision on an injunction or prohibition may be accompanied by a fine.

Fines

A fine is an amount of money to be paid if you do not comply with a decision by a supervisory authority. The fine is imposed by a court. The sum can be determined in advance and can amount to several thousand kronor.

The regulations on which this information is based:

Chapter 3 Sections 7-11 Act 2018:2088 on tobacco and similar products

Chapter 3 Sections 3-8 Regulation 2019:223 On tobacco and similar products

Regulation (2019:224) on fees for unique identification markings on tobacco packaging

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/574 on technical standards for the establishment and operation of a traceability system for tobacco products

Commission's manual for affected parties

As an operator who deals in tobacco, you always have an obligation to know what applies by law. The information on this website is intended solely to help you, and does not replace what is written in the law. There may also be other laws or regulations from other authorities that you must be aware of. The Public Health Agency continuously updates the content, but we cannot guarantee that the information on the page is always completely up to date.