Anti-counterfeiting solutions for tobacco products
The tobacco industry is not limited to just tobacco-based products. A huge range of accessories and materials provide an additional revenue stream for many tobacco companies. With increasing public awareness of the negative health effects of smoking, the tobacco industry is being forced to diversify and explore new markets. Simultaneously, the tobacco industry has also been facing an ever-increasing problem with counterfeit and contraband cigarettes. Approximately 450 billion counterfeit cigarettes are sold around the world annually, causing huge losses in revenue and taxes. It is important to note that regulatory obligations have been put in place all around the globe by international and national bodies to stop this. The regulations range from reduction of tobacco product consumption to the protection of tobacco products against counterfeiting.
The legal age of tobacco product consumption depends on which country you look at. Most countries allow people to buy tobacco at the age of 16. In some, it is illegal for them to consume it before the age of 18 or 21. Additionally, the sale of these products is forbidden in some countries such as Turkmenistan.
Counterfeit protection solutions
There are different ways to protect the tobacco industry against counterfeiting.
These approaches are adapted for different user groups and problems.
OVERT AUTHENTICATION SOLUTIONS
Visible security features are, as the name suggests, visible by humans and include QR codes, holograms, optical variable inks, watermarks, and security threads. These are the most frequently used solutions in the tobacco domain to protect a product from fraudulent attacks. At first thought, it may seem a good way to ensure a product and brand authenticity to the end-user. However, end-users often cannot determine if the visible security feature itself is authentic. Furthermore, it is often simple for counterfeiters to reproduce visible security features. It should also be noted that it might be a real disadvantage for the brand if they want to remove the overt solution as it may trouble the end-users. Even if the brand tried to inform the end user that they will be removing the security feature, buyers may persist in thinking that they might be buying a counterfeit product.
COVERT AUTHENTICATION SOLUTIONS
As indicated by its name, the covert security features are invisible to the naked eye. Examples are invisible inks, fluorescent color trackers, or special chemical tracers. These technologies generally require a special reading device and are therefore in general used for internal use by, for example, brand owners, law enforcement, governments and distributors to verify the authenticity of the products. The invisible solution enhances the security level of your product. It cannot be as easily duplicated as an overt technology.
TRACK AND TRACE
Track and Trace is used to track a product at every step from its production through distribution along the supply chain, to the end-user by adding a UID (unique identifier) such as bar code, scratch-off, serial number. Track means the current and the past locations of the products. Trace informs about the origin of the product and the various stages his has gone through during its lifetime. Nevertheless, it is important to note that Track and Trace does not bring any protection level against counterfeiting.
AUTHENTICATION SOLUTIONS PROPOSED BY ALPVISION
All anti-counterfeiting solutions provided by AlpVision for tobacco products are covert, which means there is no visual modification on the product. Depending on the product, one of three authentication solutions could be implemented on the different type of tobacco products. All three solutions proposed by AlpVision use a smartphone with a dedicated application. It is compatible with both iOS and Android.
The Cryptoglyph technology is an invisible technology suited for printed products such as packaging, labels, and blisters. The principle is simple and does not require any aesthetic modification of the packaging artwork. During the standard printing process, Cryptoglyph adds thousands of micro holes in the varnish layer or in the solid color area of the printed product. No special inks or varnish are needed, and this solution can be applied with your current printers. To find out more about this solution click here.
The Fingerprint is designed for physical products such as e-cigarette, e-liquid, snuff, or snus packaging. The moulds used to produce these items create the same microstructure on each and every piece for the same cavity. Thanks to a reference image of the product per cavity, our solution can detect the micro “defects” and authenticate the product. Absolutely nothing is added or modified on the product. Discover all the technical aspects by clicking here.
SECURED QR CODE
The secured QR code is like the Cryptoglyph.
By adding thousands of micro holes in the black areas of the QR code during your current printing process it is possible to secure a standard QR code without any visible modification. The additional invisible security layer protects the QR code against copying. Discover more about the secured QR code by clicking here.
Counterfeit Products Market
WINE & SPIRITS
Our digital invisible technologies for product authentication and counterfeit protection can be applied to a broad range of branded products across a multitude of industries, including household appliances, electromechanical parts (e.g., circuit breakers), agrochemicals (e.g., pesticides), cosmetics, oil & gas (e.g., lubricants), consumer goods, food & beverage and more.
Would you like to see how this technology can be applied to your product?