This is particularly worrying, they say, given historical evidence of links between the industry and smugglers: Several cigarette makers have been accused of oversupplying markets with porous borders on the edge of EU, or other low-tax markets, in order to benefit from the additional revenues. In the last decade, Big Tobacco have paid out more than $2 billion in payments to settle disputes regarding smuggling their own cigarettes in Europe.
Big tobacco is just blowing smoke up Europe's nose; their flawed tracking and tracing system - Codentify - is, as the joke might go "neither track nor trace". "Tracking" means information regarding the forward movement of tobacco products from their point of manufacture until the end consumer, while "Tracing" means backwards information through the supply chain to establish where genuine products may have diverted from normal distribution channels. The tobacco industry's system does neither of these things well, if at all.
European law for tobacco products, wants their tracking and tracing system to include: date and location of manufacture, manufacturing facility, machine used to manufacture tobacco products, production shift or time of manufacture, the intended market of retail sale, product description, any warehousing and shipping, the identity of any known subsequent purchaser, and the intended shipment information. And, surprisingly, Codentify does not provide any of this information (despite industry claims to the contrary).
The only thing that the entire system does, is verify that the printed code you seen on a tobacco product was indeed produced by their system. And, once the code has been checked once (say by a customs official), it will only indicate to further checks that it has checked once (say by a customs official), it will only indicate to further checks that is has been checked - meaning multiple inspections of the same product along the supply chain is impossible. And that kind of serial inspection would seem pretty relevant in the case of either tracking or tracing.
In addition, Codentify doesn't prevent "code-cloning"; that is, if a code used twice, the system cannot alone determine which of the two products with this code is genuine or counterfeit. A critical part of any system's ability to track and trace, is a central database, containing relevant data, which can be accessed by government, commercial and private individuals, to authenticate products; the industry admits there is no such database. The lack of such database makes tracing any tobacco product impossible, because there's no permanent, searchable record.
The industry's track and trace "solution" - Codentify - which is used in 50 countries around the world, does not store codes, create a database or register the product's journey - all of which a sensible person can see makes it totally inadequate. It is neither "track" nor "trace"; it's just big tobacco blowing smoke up our nose...