Dated June 6, 2016, a “Roadmap” was published on June 9th on the EU Transparency Register covering implementing measures and delegated acts under Articles 15(11), 15(12) and 16(2) of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) 2014/40/EU.I
In E.U. terms, “roadmaps” are designed to describe a Commission initiative and the objectives to be achieved. They also show the different stages of the initiative and their impact on stakeholders. Finally, they help plan for and organize public consultation.II
Accordingly, the TPD Roadmap provides context for the initiative, describes the size of the problem (e.g. penetration of illicitly traded tobacco products estimated at 13%), reviews the safety requirements mandated in Articles 15 (tracking and tracing) and 16 (tamper proof security feature composed of visible and invisible elements), and their desired objectives (to reduce illicit trade and protect public health).
Of particular interest, the TPD Roadmap maps out, in a matrix-like table, a range of possible solutions regarding the traceability system and the security features. The main choices for tracking and tracing are organized by governance model (industry-operated solution vs. a solution operated by a third party), data storage location (centralized vs. decentralized), data carrier (single vs. multiple), and reporting time (real-time vs. daily). The table also shows various methods of adding the security features (affixing vs. printing or integrating). In each case, a third, hybrid option is proposed (e.g. weekly reports instead of real-time or daily). According to the TPD Roadmap, all combinations are possible to produce the ideal solution.
The TPD Roadmap also weighs the pros and cons of each option. For example, who governs the traceability system will ultimately need to put additional control measures in place and bear added implementation costs. Another example is while a centralized data storage location preserves compatibility between data storage features, it can simultaneously create delays in accessing the data. The TPD Roadmap doesn’t provide the optimal combination of solutions, but makes it easier for stakeholders to compare and rank the different options against each other in order to “obtain the necessary level of security in a cost-efficient manner.”III
The TPD Roadmap also goes into detail on how stakeholders will be impacted in both the deployment and operational phases, as well as approached for feedback. For example, the TPD Roadmap estimates costs related to implementing these measures between EUR 291 and 347 million per year, expenses mostly borne by the manufacturers.
Regarding the consultation approach, the TPD Roadmap describes three stages. Stage one will consider the data gathered during the Feasibility Study published in May 2015. The second stage will present the best possible solution given the options for the traceability system and the security features, followed by a final stage, developing the technical standards for further implementation work.
According to the Roadmap, the impact of Articles 15 and 16 of the TPD could reduce illicit trade by 30%. This reduction could have significant positive outcomes on both the tobacco industry and tobacco control, including an increase in the legal sales of tobacco products, leading to tax gains, as well as a decrease in the overall consumption of tobacco products, leading to improved public health.
The TPD Roadmap is therefore a first step in achieving these objectives. The follow-up Implementation Study, if successful, will then promote the uptake of these findings into routine practice, but not before May 20, 2019.
I Implementing and delegated acts under Articles 15(11), 15(12) and 16(2) of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU, Retrieved on 10 June 2016 from europa.eu
II“”Roadmaps” – European Commission”. ec.europa.eu. Retrieved on 19 June 2016 from europa.eu