Euractiv reported today that several member states, including France, raised concerns in a 16 June meeting about a tobacco track and trace proposal by European Commission consultant Everis. Among their concerns were the costs of implementing the system by May 2019 and the effects of new obligations on SMEs in the industry. European distributors have also attacked the proposal as overly bureaucratic and introducing unnecessary costs and complexity.
ESTA believes that, in its current form, the track and trace scheme focuses on large cigarette manufacturers and fails to account for small and mid-sized firms. The proposed system is not only incompatible with less automated production methods employed by smaller firms, but it also ignores the packaging specifications of niche products, such as traditional nasal snuff.
“Small and mid-sized producers would simply be unable to implement this proposal,” ESTA Secretary General Peter van der Mark stated. “And rather than continue with this unworkable design, the Commission should consider track and trace systems already undergoing trials in some Member States, rather than foster continuous political discussion.”