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 license for manufacturing and regard for product safety.
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Since the launch of counterfeiting action by ELFBAR in June 2021, it has cracked down on more than 120 counterfeit production and sales targets, including factories, warehouses, logistics, and foreign trade companies, seizure of more than 2 million finished counterfeit ELFBAR products, millions of packaging boxes, anti-counterfeit codes, semi-finished vaping pipes and other accessories.
Victor Xiao, the Chief Executive of ELFBAR, said: "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 to maximize 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."
Mr. Xiao said, ELFBAR 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 cause and our fear is that they could be extremely dangerous."
ELFBAR is clamping down hard on the illegal vape market and 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 realizes that it is impossible to stop all the fakes from 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 every product they sell.
Fighting fakes is a priority for ELFBAR and we remain zero tolerance for these fake vapes right across the entire industry. 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.
During the campaign, ELFBAR has posted a video to demonstrate its real manufacturing process, which indicates how they control the quality of products and avoid purchasing the counterfeits through scanning their anti-counterfeiting identification QR code.
John Dunne, Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association（UKVIA, 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 put them off from doing it ever again."
Lee Bryan, Managing Director of compliance specialists Arcus Compliance, which supports leading vape brands staying on the right side of the regulations when it comes to new product development, commented: "Counterfeiters in any market are the worse of the worse.
"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." ■