Geek Bar has written to Trading Standards services at local authorities in major UK cities to raise awareness of the growing issue of non-compliant and counterfeit disposable vape products. It comes in the wake of the growing number of raids on retailers across the country who are selling such goods.
The UK has seen a rapid growth in the use of Geek Bar and other disposable vape products in the past year due to the popularity of such products amongst former smokers looking to quit using vape products. However, increasingly, unscrupulous traders along the supply chain, from distributors to retailers, have taken advantage of the trend and are turning a blind eye to regulations and either selling products that can only be sold in non-European countries such as the USA due to their liquid capacity and nicotine levels or fake goods.
In terms of non-compliant products, in the UK, disposable vapes should contain no more than 20mg/ml of nicotine, nor have above 2ml liquid capacity. However, Geek Bar pros, manufactured for other non-UK markets where regulations differ and allow higher nicotine concentrations have been amongst the non-compliant products making their way into the UK market.
Geek Bar has already been instrumental in establishing a primary authority partnership with Oldham Council to focus on the growing issue surrounding illicit disposable products. It has now followed this up directly approaching Trading Standards operations in major cities requesting their commitment to do all they can do to cut off the supply of non-compliant and counterfeit disposables.
“We (Geek Bar) would be grateful if you could use your communications channels to reach out to your local retailers and other networks to make them aware of the issue and, in particular, what we are doing at Geek Bar to combat the problem. By working closely together we can ensure that we stamp out such unscrupulous practices by a minority of rogue traders,” the letter reads.
The letter also asks Trading Standards to encourage retailers to come forward if they are approached by distributors trying to offload non-compliant or counterfeit vape products.
Allen Young, Chief Executive of Geek Bar, said, “It’s easy to blame the manufacturer but the truth of the matter is that these products are finding their way into the UK through customs and being sold in retail outlets across the country. It’s a huge issue for our own reputation and the vape sector as a whole. Enough is enough, and there needs to be more collaboration and enforcement involving all parties including Trading Standards, the vaping industry, trade associations representing retailers and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
“We are also asking the community to come forward and report retailers who are selling products that they shouldn’t be by emailing us at [email protected].”
The company has been working closely with the authorities in China to identify factories producing fake products. This has resulted in the closure of 12 counterfeit production facilities and the seizure of more than 100,000 fake products destined for the UK. Those responsible for setting up these illegal factories are now facing criminal charges and if found guilty, a minimum three-year prison sentence
Geek Bar also recently produced a retail leaflet making retailers aware of counterfeit and non-compliant products, and has revamped its product packaging to emphasise the security code which will allow both retailers and consumers to check the authenticity of the product. The security code can be verified at http://www.geekbar.com/security-code.html.
Retailers can download the If In Doubt, Check It Out guide to compliant retailing of disposable vape products in the UK, which has been published by the UK Vaping Industry Association. The Association of Convenience Stores has also recently published a guide for its members highlighting how they can source and sell vape products responsibly.