Walker runs Second Vape Ltd from his parents’ small house in Ferryhill, County Durham. Through a website that appears to have been made during the days of AOL Online, he sell equipment, liquids and a stunning range of overpriced “previously loved” mods.
Until last week, he was selling a range of McDonald's milkshake juices on the website. The journalists claimed Walker has been “flooding the UK market with the bottles that even feature the 'I'm vapin' it' slogan and the McDonald's 'golden arches' logo.”
Walker is not the producer of these bottles; he resells them like others who care little for the reputation of vaping. The Mail writes: “When asked if the McVapes packaging is targeted at children, the businessman replied: 'Yes, that branding is a bit naughty’.”
Action on Smoking and Health’ Deborah Arnott said: “I'd warn anyone who sees McVapes for sale not to buy them as they're not on the list of notified products and that means that there's no guarantee they meet the necessary standards and they shouldn't be on sale in the UK. I'm concerned as well that whoever's selling them may well not be checking that they're not selling to under-18s, which is also illegal. Sales need to be stopped and now.'”
Second Vape Ltd require customers to enter a birthdate in order to access the site and Walker claims he does not sell to anybody underage. Since the feature all bottles have been removed from the website but other vendors are still advertising them.
Planet of the Vapes contacted McDonalds for a comment but the press officer declined to provide one.
The WM Wrigley Jr Company has taken a strong stance on companies using its chewing gum branding on juice bottles. Not content with having products simply removed from sale, Wrigley has taken a succession of vape companies to court for “infringing its trademarks and causing unspecified damages”. It remains to be seen if McDonalds will adopt a similar stance.
Previously, Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos has said: “In my opinion, this is absolutely unacceptable and a clear indication of irresponsible behaviour and marketing tactics. Even if there is no such genuine intention, none will be convinced. This is irresponsible behaviour not only from the producers, but also from the retailers who sell these products and from the vapers who buy these products. Besides the regulators, who will do their job, the responsible part of the e-cigarette industry must immediately target and expel these members, while retailers should request the removal of such labels and packaging design or deny getting such products for retail.”
Most recently, IVG liquids was denounced by Millions Sweets for using its use of its sweets in advertising and on bottle designs: “We are aware of some ‘millions’ branded vape and e-cig products in the market place. We do not endorse these products and they have been released into the market without our knowledge or consent. We are working behind the scenes to get our millions brand removed from all vaping products.”
Harm reduction activists have been fighting for years for vaping to be accepted by politicians and public health bodies. It would be understandable if they thought that the likes of Peter Walker and his McShake liquids would just McBurger off.