Track & Trace: a retailer’s guide

Richard McCaig and Bruce Morgan

With just a few weeks left until Track & Trace comes into force, it is important to ensure that you are fully up to speed on the legislation. To prepare you for the 20 May deadline, SLR visited Best-one retailer Bruce Morgan of Brownlies of Biggar with JTI Area Sales Manager Richard McCaig to discuss Bruce’s concerns.


With the new Track & Trace legislation only weeks away from implementation, it is important to ensure retailers are fully compliant come the 20 May deadline. With that in mind, SLR and JTI Area Sales Manager Richard McCaig visited Bruce Morgan of Best-one Brownlies in Biggar to discuss the legislation and address any concerns he had about the new regulations.

Here, Richard explains how he answered Bruce’s questions, and provided him with the knowledge he needed at this crucial time.

McCaig comments: “As a JTI Sales Rep, I visit many stores and am aware that compliance with legislation can be challenging. When I met with Bruce recently, he expressed concerns that seem common amongst retailers regarding Track & Trace. In particular, he was worried about the extent the legislation was going to impact his store, and how he operates his business. I wanted to assure him, however, that there will be minimal noticeable changes to retailers, and make sure he was up to speed with what the legislation will mean.”

1. What impact will Track & Trace have on my business?

Most aspects of Track & Trace will be applied earlier in the supply chain, with manufacturers and wholesalers more directly affected. Retailers will not need to scan products out, for instance, and there will be no direct impact on their customers.

That’s not to say retailers don’t need to do anything. Before 20 May 2019, they will be required to apply for an Economic Operator ID Code (EOID), and a separate Facility ID Code (FID) for each of their premises where they either store tobacco or sell tobacco products to the public. From 20 May 2019, they will need to provide their EOID & FIDs when purchasing Track & Trace-compliant stock.

On the whole, we expect Track & Trace to have little impact on retailers and their business. In fact, the legislation should only have a positive effect on legitimate retailers, as it will mean stricter ramifications for those who are caught selling illicit tobacco.

2. Where can I get the required codes?

Bruce was aware that he needed EOID and FID codes to be compliant, but didn’t know how or where to get them from.

To obtain their EOID and FID codes, retailers must apply to the government appointed ID issuer, De La Rue. A phased application process (depending on the size of retailer) has been open since 23 April. All those retailers who applied for the codes can expect to receive them from 10 May – in time to be compliant before the deadline.

If there are any issues with applying for or receiving the codes, retailers should get in touch with HMRC, who will be able to answer questions and assist during this pivotal part of the process.

3. Will Track & Trace have the desired effect in the fight against illicit trade which is harming my business?

I explained to Bruce the background of the legislation, and how it is hoped that it will help fight the illicit trade. He was unsure, however, as to how effective this will be.

While criminals will continue to counterfeit after the introduction of Track & Trace, they will now have to copy five new security features, which will make it harder for them to reproduce. Furthermore, the ID codes will act as a deterrent for retailers who are selling illicit tobacco alongside genuine as they could potentially lose the right to trade tobacco if found to be in breach of the Track & Trace legislation.

Strict enforcement will be crucial for Track & Trace to have the desired effect on the illicit trade, but we’re hopeful those guilty of selling it will be caught and punished more efficiently. This, of course, will be of great benefit to law-abiding wholesalers and retailers, whose profits are being damaged by the sale of illicit tobacco.

Still key to tackling the issue of illicit tobacco, however, is the ability to work together; from the local authorities and police, to the manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers – right down to the customers. Retailers have a crucial part to play in fighting the illicit tobacco trade, and it’s more important than ever for them to report instances of illicit tobacco being sold in their area, rather than risking their tobacco business by engaging with the illicit trade.

Any retailer who is aware of anybody selling illicit tobacco can use the easy-to-use, anonymous ‘report’ function on the www.jtiadvance.co.uk/DontBeComplicit microsite, or should contact the HM Revenue & Customs’ Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887, Trading Standards on 03454 04 05 06 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

4. What support can JTI provide on Track & Trace implementation?

Bruce and I had a very productive chat – and he was pleased that he had been able to have his questions answered. However, he also wanted to know where else he could find this information if needed.

Our dedicated Track & Trace microsite – www.jtiadvance.co.uk/trackandtrace – went live in March, and we have been supporting its launch with a widespread trade media advertising and PR campaign, with a focus on educating those retailers and wholesalers who are unsure about the legislation.

We strongly encourage retailers to visit the site to answer any questions they may have. Or, if they need more bespoke advice then they can get in touch with their local JTI Sales Representative, who will be more than happy to help.

Overall, Track & Trace will require close collaboration between the manufacturing industry and our wholesale and retail partners and JTI is on hand to help guide them through the changes.

JTI is continuing to support retailers to ensure they are prepared for the 20 May deadline. Its dedicated Track & Trace microsite  contains all of the essential information needed to make sure retailers are compliant, including a full timeline and FAQs. Informed Sales Representatives are also on hand to answer any questions retailers may have about the impending legislation.

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