The Solution

Tracking and tracing

Tracking and tracing

Fighting illicit trade with technology

There are many technologies that claim to prevent illicit trade but in reality none will stop copies being made or cigarettes being smuggled. However, some technologies can give governments, retailers, and consumers the ability to rapidly determine whether or not duty has been collected on a product, as well as if the product is genuine or fake.

Specifically these technologies can improve the security of the supply chain in three primary ways:

1. Tracking and tracing can help address smuggling of tobacco products across borders.

  • Tracking is the ability to monitor finished goods as they make their way down the supply chain from the point of manufacture.
  • Tracing is the ability to recreate the movement of packaged tobacco products back up the supply chain to a certain point.
  • A track-and-trace regime can contribute to preventing the diversion of tobacco products into illegal channels.

2. Authentication can help address counterfeiting.

  • Authentication is the ability to determine genuine products from counterfeit.
  • Security features: Tobacco products require anti-counterfeit features enabling the authentication of a product by industry, investigators, and ideally the wider public. A layered approach to security features means a variety of different features all working in conjunction with each other, thus presenting the most insurmountable obstacle to criminals.
  • One of the most secure authentication solutions used today by various industries is to print a unique code on each and every pack. This code can then be scanned by consumers, retailers and law enforcement officials to determine whether or not that pack is genuine.



3. Digital Tax Verification can help to address tax evasion.

  • Tax verification involves verifying that the declared volume of tobacco products manufactured matches the amount of excise tax due and paid.
  • Digital fiscal marking of tobacco product packaging is used in many countries around the world as a tool to verify the payment or collect tobacco taxes. Codes or paper stamps that are directly printed on, or attached to the pack, are very common ways of doing this. The markers are used by auditors to ensure the number of codes or stamps used by the manufacturer match the number of tobacco products sold, in stock, or rejected during the production process.

All of these technologies can contribute significantly to tackling illicit trade and should be considered as part of a comprehensive strategy.