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Hazardous Fake Vape Warning

British retailers and consumers warned about potentially hazardous fake vape products following an investigation into Chinese fake vape factories

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British retailers and consumers warned about potentially hazardous fake vape products following an investigation into Chinese fake vape factories by ELFBAR. The company says that it is striving to create a unified approach to combatting the issue.

Fighting fakes is a priority for ELFBAR and we would like to see a zero tolerance on these fake vapes adopted right across the entire industry so we can show a united front to drive these people out of business,” said Victor Xiao, the Chief Executive of ELFBAR.

Retailers and consumers are being warned that potentially dangerous counterfeit disposables flooding into the UK market are being produced in squalid Chinese factories with no regard for product safety.

And while reputable manufacturers invest heavily to ensure that their products comply with all laws and safety standards, the counterfeiters do not.

To hammer home the message, ELFBAR – one of the most popular vape brands in the UK – has released these shocking pictures which show the filth and squalor in which counterfeiters operate.

The pictures were taken at a counterfeit factory in China producing fake ELFBAR disposables, but the company says it was raided by the authorities and none of the products made it into the supply chain.

The images show production lines where vape components are randomly strewn around makeshift workstations in a filthy factory full of dirt and rubbish.

Perhaps the most shocking image was that of a grimy sink in one corner of the factory which showed discarded vape devices surrounded by cigarette butts.

Not only do the fake vape manufacturers represent a huge threat to the legitimate industry, but ELFBAR warns that consumers face a ‘significant risk’ from using these illegal counterfeit products.

In addition, retailers are leaving themselves open to criminal or civil claims for selling potentially dangerous and non-compliant products.

Victor Xiao, the Chief Executive of ELFBAR, continued: “Consumers would be horrified if they saw the conditions in which these products are made and quite rightly so. The criminals behind these counterfeit products care nothing about product safety or the health of consumers and they cut every corner possible in order to maximise their profits.

“Quite frankly, the conditions in these factories are absolutely squalid where workers man production lines in filthy conditions with no regard to hygiene at all.”

ELFBAR says it is one of a number of “reputable companies” which has fallen victim to the counterfeiters, but it has been strongly fighting back since June 2021.

Since then, it has cracked down on more than 120 counterfeit production and sales facilities including factories, warehouses and logistics operations. This has led to the seizure of more than two million finished counterfeit ELFBAR products, millions of packaging boxes, anti-counterfeit codes, semi-finished vaping pipes and other accessories.

ELFBAR claims to be working closely with the authorities in China to clamp down hard on the counterfeiters and earlier this year, in one raid alone, more than one million fake disposables – most destined for the UK market – were intercepted and destroyed

Mr Xiao said his company would not stand by while the counterfeiters ran roughshod through the industry, tarnished the reputation of established manufacturers and put the health of consumers at significant risk.

He added: “Retailers are opening themselves up to substantial risks by handling these products and must avoid them at all costs. Because these products have not undergone any safety checks or official testing there is no way of knowing what health risks they could cause and our fear is that they could be extremely dangerous.”

ELFBAR says it is building up an intelligence dossier on fake products as the counterfeiters get smarter and more efficient. While ELFBAR works hard to stop the fraudsters at source it realises that it is impossible to stop all the fakes getting through and is now warning retailers that they are the last line of defence to protect consumers.

Mr Xiao added: “While it can be hard to tell a fake product from the real thing just by looking at it, there is no excuse for any retailer to sell a counterfeit ELFBAR product. Retailers can scan a code on the packaging to check the authenticity of the product and we urge them to do this for each and every product they sell.

“Fighting fakes is a priority for ELFBAR and we would like to see a zero tolerance on these fake vapes adopted right across the entire industry so we can show a united front to drive these people out of business.

“We want to reassure consumers and retailers that the UK market is very important to us and we will continue to do all in our power to ensure that British consumers have confidence in their vapes.”

As part of its fight against fake vapes, ELFBAR is embarking on a campaign to educate retailers and consumers about the threat posed by counterfeit producers. ELFBAR has also posted a video to demonstrate its real manufacturing process, which has an emphasis on quality control, product safety and anti-counterfeiting measures such as QR codes on packaging.

John Dunne, Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association, commented: “I applaud ELFBAR for standing up against the counterfeiters. They pose a significant risk to the harm reduction reputation of the global vaping industry. It’s why we have called for a retail licensing scheme here in the UK to prevent the sale of illicit products and much higher penalties of at least £10,000 per instance for retailers who break the law in this way. Similarly, the counterfeiters and those who trade fake vapes along the supply chain need dealing with in a way by the relevant authorities that puts them off from doing it ever again.

Lee Bryan, Managing Director of compliance specialists Arcus Compliance, which supports leading vape brands stay on the right side of the regulations when it comes to new product development, commented: “Counterfeiters in any market are the worst of the worst. However, whilst fakes are extremely difficult to spot, distributors, wholesalers and retailers need to set up systems to ensure they are making all the right checks. Any lack of inbound vape product monitoring could let fakes get through the supply chain and pose a very real risk to the health of the consumer and their own reputations.”

Planet of the Vapes is still waiting for ELFBAR to announce its sustainability plans and a programme to recycle its products.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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