Chinese vapes have taken over the world in recent years, becoming especially popular with young people. Recent news has revealed that China have now put into effect a ban on fruity vapes as part of a crackdown on smoking.
These new rules in China mean that vapers will only legally have access to tobacco-flavoured vapes, despite China being the home of vaping titans such as the Elf Bar, plus most vaping hardware brands used around the world. The domestic market will now have a lack of fruity and sweet flavourings, however it has been revealed that this will not effect imports to the UK, despite arguments that there may be a violation in advertising standards.
This ban is coming into effect this month, along with other rules being tightened, including clearer warnings to children on packaging and a ban on online sales. These bans are being implemented in an effort to reduce concerns of underage vaping in China, despite their huge export of Chinese vapes worldwide.
Are there Chinese vapes in the UK?
You’d be surprised how many Chinese vapes are in the UK–most of your favourite vaping brands and disposable vapes are Chinese! Other than Elf Bar, there is also:
- Lost Mary (also made by Elf Bar)
- GeekVape and Geekbar
In fact, most vape hardware brands are manufactured in one city in China: Shenzhen. Shenzhen is considered the vape hardware capital of the world.
Each vape export to the UK has to go through rigorous regulations, which are becoming stricter after reports of smaller local shops selling unofficial or counterfeit vapes. This has become quite a problem with underage vapers, and the UKVIA are working towards fining retailers who sell to minors.
Those vapes that are legitimate will always be sold by the best UK vape stores. Wherever you choose to buy, legitimate suppliers will advertise well on their website the warnings and restrictions and sell them at retail price.
Will Chinese vapes still be sold in the UK?
Despite these bans, China will continue to export disposable vapes, such as the Elf Bar, to the UK.
The past year or so has seen a growing number young people vaping here in the UK, and vaping brands have come under scrutiny for their lacklustre efforts to combat this issue. The annual YouGov report carried out in March revealed that since 2020, vaping amongst children aged 11-17 has risen from 4% to 7%.
In July, an Observer investigation found that Elf Bar were breaching rules in terms of advertising, with TikTok influencers using the products on camera without correctly clarifying it was an advertisement. Children as young as 7 are being exposed the brightly coloured vapes, according to experts. In response to this, TikTok did ban multiple accounts breaching these rules, however with such a large platform, it’s impossible to tackle every infraction.
These promotions break rules in regards to advertising e-cigarettes on social media, rumoured to be pushed by Elf Bar. They were also found to be promoting via bus adverts and billboards (fun fact: bus adverts are one of few legal ways to advertise vape products here in the UK). Elf Bar have acknowledged this, however, and are “aware of the UK regulations,” promising to conduct an investigation.
Despite efforts to regulate the use of vapes, they still continue to soar in popularity in the UK.
Hopefully, we won’t see a similar ban on Chinese vapes in the UK, as long as retailers follow the rules put in place for safety. Although there are still tobacco-flavoured options in China, it’s an effort to reduce fruit and sweet flavours that is now being implemented.
And as we know from other blanket flavour bans around the world, this only leads to a prolific Black Market of unregulated, potentially dangerous vape products filling the gap in the market.
Remember, always buy your vapes from reputable UK retailers. And, when in doubt, you can easily verify your product on the manufacturer’s website to ensure your vape is genuine.