The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has raised retailers’ concerns about the tobacco track and trace system to the European Commission with the support of Independent Retail Europe.

The tobacco track and trace regulations were introduced by the European Union in the Revised Tobacco Products Directive and came into effect on 20 May.

Ahead of a meeting of the European Commission Tobacco Control Subgroup on Traceability and Security Features, where representatives of members states will discuss compliance with track and trace, Independent Retail Europe made representations on behalf its members including ACS.

The subgroup will be made aware of concerns with requirements to scan and record the movement and sale of cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco, such as:

• the appeals process for claiming compensation does not appear to be fit for purpose;

• operational disruption due to the time required to scan and record tobacco;

• lack of clarity on requirements to record the sale of tobacco;

• ambiguity around escalation or notification processes if the system goes offline.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We have worked with HMRC extensively to support the introduction of the track and trace system and continue to do so. As the system operates at an EU level, it is important that we have worked with our EU representative group Independent Retail Europe to make the European Commission aware about outstanding issues with the system. We hope that the subgroup can support retailers by providing clarity on aspects of the regulations which are left open to interpretation.”

Independent Retail Europe director general Else Groen commented: “Several elements of the system remain unclear. We needed and therefore very much appreciated the close cooperation with ACS on this issue to help reveal the gaps and create awareness with the commission and the member states. Hopefully they will rapidly tackle and clarify these issues, for the system to operate effectively and efficiently across the EU.”