The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 4 November 2021

Traceability and security features

With effect from 20 May 2019, packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco must carry a traceability marking and a security feature. Packets which do not have these markings may not be sold. The purpose of the traceability marking is to be able to trace the tobacco product from the factory to the retail outlet and the purpose of the security feature is to enable verification of whether a tobacco product is genuine or not.

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Traceability marking

Unique identifiers

Cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco that are supplied to consumers on the Swedish market must be marked with unique identifiers issued by the Swedish ID issuer.

More information on ordering unique identifiers and the traceability system

Format for unit level unique identifiers

The unit level unique identifiers (UIs), generated by the ID issuer, consists of 18 characters, to which a date stamp of 8 characters is added, making a total of 26 characters.

The UIs consists of four parts:

  1. The ID issuer’s code: according to ISO14549-2, 5 characters (QCALL)
  2. A unique serial number: according to ISO646, this consists of [a-z; A-Z; 0-9), a total of 9 characters
  3. A product code, consisting of [a.z; A-Z; 0-9), a total of 4 characters; the code makes it possible to determine
    • - Place of manufacture
    • - Manufacturing plant (identification code)
    • - Manufacturing machine (identification code)
    • - Product description (type, brand, weight etc.)
    • - Intended retail market (country)
    • - Intended delivery route (cross-border transport, first country after manufacture/import into EU)
    • - Where applicable, the importer to the Union
  4. Time stamp, format YYMMDDhh, a total of 8 characters, indicates the time of manufacture as above, generated by the manufacturer or importer.

Figure. The four parts of the unique identification marking.

Format for unique identifiers for aggregated packaging

In order to simplify the registration of tobacco products, aggregated codes can be created. The aggregated unique identifiers may be created either by the economic operators themselves, or by the ID issuer after an application for aggregated codes from the economic operator.

The aggregated unique identifiers must follow the structure of article 11.1 if generated by the ID issuer. If created by the economic operator themselves, it shall consist of an individual code generated in accordance with ISO/IEC 15459-1:2014 or ISO/IEC 15459-4:2014 or their most recent counterparts.

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.

Security feature

Packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco supplied to consumers on the Swedish market must bear security features consisting of at least five authentication elements.

Authentication element

The following five authentication elements shall be used in combination with each other and shall be included in the security feature that shall be shown on tobacco products that shall be sold to consumers in Sweden.

Overt elements

  • Guilloche – an ornamental pattern consisting of two or more interlaced bands.
  • Colour-changing ink– element that change in colour when looked at from different angles.

Semi-covert elements

  • Microprint - very small text that requires magnification to become readable.
  • Ultraviolet ink (UV printing) on UV dull paper –that will show up under special UV lamps.

Covert elements

  • Anti-Stokes ink – that can only be identified with special equipment.

At least one of the authentication elements must be supplied by an independent third-party supplier in accordance with Article 3.2 of Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/576.

What applies to tobacco manufacturers and importers

If you manufacture or import cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco to Sweden, you must mark your products with a traceability marking and also a security features consisting of at least the five authentication elements laid down in the Public Health Agency of Sweden's regulation on security features on unit packets of tobacco products (link below). These markings must be on all unit packets manufactured on or after 20 May 2019 for sale.

Folkhälsomyndighetens föreskrifter om säkerhetsmärkning på styckförpackningar med tobaksvaror

With effect from 20 May 2024, all tobacco products sold on the Swedish market must bear a traceability marking and a security feature.

If aggregated unique identifiers have been created, these shall also be marked on the aggregated units.

Application of the unique identifiers

As a manufacturer or importer, you are responsible for putting a unique identifiers on all unit products. The unique identifiers shall be applied to the unit packet or aggregated package with a data carrier with an optical machine-readable code and also a human readable code.

More information on ordering unique identifiers and the traceability system

Data carrier

The optically readable code on the unit packet shall be in one of the three approved formats in Article 21.1 of Implementing Regulation 2018/574.

The optically readable code on the aggregated package shall be in one of the three approved formats in Article 21.5 of Implementing Regulation 2018/574.

In order to distinguish the data carrier for traceability from other data carriers which may be present on unit packets or aggregated packages, TTT may be added to the marking next to the data carrier.

Time stamp

To codes generated by the ID issuer, you must add a time stamp in the format YYMMDDhh, a total of 8 characters. The time stamp shall indicate the time of manufacture and may either be included in the data carrier or printed separately on the packaging in human readable format.

Human readable code

You are responsible for ensuring that each data carrier also contains a code that can be read by humans and that makes it possible to search for the unique identification marking in the database system. If the dimensions of the packaging so permit, the human readable code shall be next to the optical data carrier with the unique identification marking.

For unit packets, the human readable code shall be the ID issuer's code (QCALL) and the unique serial number (9 characters).

Method for applying the security feature

As a manufacturer or importer, you are responsible for putting a security feature on all unit products. The security feature must be affixed to the packet under the cellophane cover and designed in such a way that it cannot be reused, which means that it should leave marks or break if removed or when the packet is opened.

The security feature may be applied to unit packets of tobacco products using one of the following methods:

  • Affixing
  • Printing
  • A combination of affixing and printing.

Security features shall be placed on unit packets of tobacco products in such a way as to:

  • allows for the identification and verification of the authenticity of an individual unit packet of tobacco product for the entire time the tobacco product is placed on the market; and
  • protects it from being replaced, reused or modified in any way.

What applies to wholesalers

If you are engaged in wholesale trade in tobacco products (cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco) or engaged in the trade in tobacco products without selling to consumers, you may only sell tobacco products with traceability and security features to the retail trade. If these markings are missing, the product may not be sold. See transitional rules below.

Application of aggregated unique identifiers

As a wholesaler, you are responsible for putting a unique identifier on the aggregated units you create. The aggregated unique identifier shall be applied to the aggregated package with a data carrier with an optical machine-readable code and also a human readable code.

More information on unique identifier and the traceability system

Data carrier

The optically readable code on the aggregated package shall be in one of the three approved formats in Article 21.5 of Implementing Regulation 2018/574.

In order to distinguish the data carrier for traceability from other data carriers which may be present on aggregated packages, TTT may be added to the marking next to the data carrier.

Human readable code

You are responsible for ensuring that each data carrier also contains a code that can be read by humans and that makes it possible to search for the unique identifier in the database. If the dimensions of the packaging permit, the human readable code shall be next to the optical data carrier with the unique identifier.

What applies to retailers

If you are engaged in retail trade in tobacco products (cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco), you may only sell tobacco products with traceability and security features. If these markings are missing, the product may not be sold. See transitional rules below.

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 traceability and security features until 20 May 2020.

From 21 May 2020, all cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco sold shall bear traceability and security features.

For other tobacco products that are subject to the traceability and security features 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 and security features. 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.

Regulations

The regulations on which the information above is based can be found in the following links:

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

The Public Health Agency’s regulations on security marking on unit packets of tobacco products; HSLF-FS 2019:4

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

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/576 on technical standards for security features applied to tobacco products

As an actor 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.