In 2015, child welfare group First Focus reported that some juice companies were “illegally branding their wares with the same names, packaging, logos, and colours as popular candy and children’s cereal brands”.
Shortly afterwards, Vape blogger/reviewer Phil Busardo spoke about the likes of Cloud Candy at Vape Expo NJ, to which he stated he didn’t believe they were marketing at children but asked them whether they could understand where the confusion may arise.
Recently, a blog post on the Vapes Cloud Company website criticised the launch of Pokéjuice – a liquid bearing Pokémon images and a play on the slogan about ‘collecting them all’. Vape Cloud write about the Malaysian juice: “Even if the vaping industry could possibly forgive a merchandiser or a vape shop for marketing a brand of e-liquid that essentially proves the point of every anti-vaping activist group in the world, the legality of this product is almost certainly suspect.”
This week, Knowsley Council’s Trading Standards officers acted to remove a range of juices (Mech Shakes, Drippy Lee Pounding Clouds, Milky Cones Vapory, ‘Murica, Milkshake Man and Kreamy Vapes) from five stores across Huyton, Kirkby and Prescot. The action was covered by three local papers and made it onto the BBC news site.
Eddie Connor, a Knowsley councillor, said: "I'm pleased that our Trading Standards team have investigated and removed these potentially harmful products from sale in Knowsley. The safety of customers is always our highest priority and I'm concerned that young children could be attracted to these products because of their appearance.”
Peter Beckett, Head of Compliance at Nerudia, believes Trading Standards have jumped the gun on TPD implementation: “The article talks about warning labels not being present - by which I assume they are talking about hazard warnings required under the Chemical Labelling and Packaging Regulation. If so, Trading Standards are perfectly entitled to remove the products from sale. However, removing them simply because they look like food products isn't legal. Yet.”
It can only be a matter of time before some of the major brands take legal action over the trademark and copyright infringement taking place, in the meantime this practise does nothing but add fuel to fire in the vape debate. No wonder blogger Fergus Mason is angry.