There are fears that electronic cigarettes could soon become as much of a counterfeiter’s paradise as tobacco.
The e-cigarette market is booming, with estimated sales of £340m this year, but fake brands are becoming a rapidly-growing threat, according to industry experts.
Counterfeit versions of brands using cheaper materials and sold at heavily-reduced prices are cropping up across the country, sparking fears that it could follow in the footsteps of rolling tobacco where illicit trade accounts for 39% of the market.
“It’s hard to identify fakes, but I’ve personally seen top-name brands being sold at a Sunday market for suspiciously low prices, and it seems highly likely that they were fakes,” said Mark Smith, managing director of 7Stripe. “It is certainly an issue for the whole industry.”
Experts believe illicit trade in e-cigarettes will increase as demand continues to grow.
“Like any successful industry, the potential to attract illicit trade is real concern,” said Nikhil Nathwani, managing director at Philip Morris-owned Nicocigs.
It comes as the market braces itself for stricter regulation from the European Union next year, including standardising many features of e-cigs. “Tighter regulation will help ensure that ‘cowboy’ e-cig sellers are removed from the market, leaving only brands which consumers can rely on,” said Jacob Fuller, CEO at Blu UK.
Have you been offered counterfeit e-cigarettes? Call us on 020 7689 3353.