Potentially dangerous counterfeit disposable vaping products are flooding into the U.K. market, according to an investigation by Elfbar, a Chinese manufacturer. The company warns retailers and consumers that the illegal products are produced in “squalid Chinese factories with no license for manufacturing and regard for product safety.”
Since June 2021, Elfbar has cracked down on more than 120 counterfeit production and sales targets, including factories, warehouses, logistics and foreign trade companies. Its actions have resulted in the seizure of more than 2 million finished counterfeit Elfbar products, millions of packaging boxes, anti-counterfeit codes, semi-finished vaping pipes and other accessories, according to the company.
Elfbar CEO Victor Xiao said consumers would be horrified if they saw the conditions in which these products are made. “The criminals behind these counterfeit products care nothing about product safety or the health of consumers, and they cut every corner possible to maximize their profits,” he said in a statement. “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 said that manufacturers and retailers have an important role in protecting consumers.
“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 every product they sell,” Xiao said.
John Dunne, director general of the U.K. Vaping Industry Association, applauded Elfbar for standing up against the counterfeiters.
“They pose a significant risk to the harm reduction reputation of the global vaping industry,” he said. “It’s why we have called for a retail licensing scheme here in the U.K. to prevent the sale of illicit products and much higher penalties of at least £10,000 [$12,058] per instance for retailers who break the law in this way,” he said. “Similarly, the counterfeiters and those who trade fake vapes along the supply chain need dealing with in a way by the relevant authorities that put them off from doing it ever again.”