Research by JTI reveals a need for further clarity ahead of the upcoming legislation

A recent survey conducted by JTI has revealed several areas of retailer uncertainty regarding the upcoming Track and Trace legislation, coming into force on 20th May.

The survey of over 1,400 retailers carried out via JTI Advance, highlighted that further education is needed on the specifics of the legislation. 70% of those surveyed revealed that they were unaware they had to apply for two separate identifier codes to be able to store and sell tobacco products legally, whilst 60% admitted that they were unsure of when the legislation comes into effect.

To support retailers and wholesalers through the transition, JTI is launching a dedicated microsite (, featuring a host of practical information and advice to help them prepare.  JTI’s dedicated sales representatives will also be on hand to communicate the changes and answer any questions retailers and wholesalers may have in the lead up to 20th May and beyond.

Mark Yexley, Head of Communications, comments, “Ensuring the new Track and Trace system is implemented by 20th May 2019 is a significant challenge facing the tobacco trade sector, but JTI will be on hand to help support our trade partners through the transition every step of the way – we advise retailers and wholesalers to visit our new microsite to ensure they are fully prepared.”

The Track and Trace legislation will allow the authorities to track the route of and source of genuine product throughout the supply chain, and encouragingly nearly half (46%) of retailers surveyed agree the legislation will help combat the illicit tobacco trade – which the UK government estimates accounts for 15% of the cigarette market and 28% of the hand rolling tobacco market in the UK[1].

Mark Yexley continues; “The success of the Track and Trace legislation will require strict enforcement, and it’s now more important than ever for retailers and wholesalers to report instances of illicit tobacco being sold in their area. Retailers found guilty could face any penalties that HMRC decide to apply and potentially lose the right to trade tobacco.”

JTI is committed to supporting law-abiding retailers by fighting the illicit trade. The manufacturer launched its ‘Don’t be Complicit in Illicit’ campaign in 2018, aimed at encouraging retailers to join the fight against illegal tobacco. It has removed gantries from 35 retailers found to have been selling illegal tobacco, as well as supporting five private prosecutions in 2018, all of which resulted in successful convictions.

Retailer knowledge gaps:

  • 70% of retailers surveyed don’t know about the double code application
  • 65% don’t know where to go for further information about Track and Trace
  • 64% remain unclear on what impact Track and Trace will have on their business
  • 60% don’t know when the legislation comes into effect
  • 46% believe the legislation has been brought in by the authorities in a direct move to help combat illicit trade

[1] Measuring tax gaps 2018 edition. Tobacco tax gap estimates for 2016-17. HMRC, June 2018

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