Some weeks have passed since the news of a Nottingham Retailer being raided by trading standards broke but it appears that the same concerns are being raised across the pond in the United States with regards to ecigarette marketing. With the case of the Nottingham Retailer it was clear from the outset that a number of e-liquids were thought to breach several consumer-orientated regulations.
Some of the brands seized included:
- Pancake Man
- King Krispies
- Ice Cream
- Mr Blintz
- Jam Monster
- Granny’s Pie
- French Dude
Although in the UK we have The Food Imitations (safety) Regulations 1989 which makes it illegal to imitate food products, in addition to this the TRPR sought to reaffirm these rules by specifically prohibiting products from portraying food products. Across the pond in the US the same strict regulations do not apply which has caused quite the stir considering the industry has come under fire for increasing use of E-cigarettes amongst youths. It therefore wouldn’t be absurd to suggest that the industry took measures to minimize the negative publicity by producing the best quality possible products whilst minimizing the appeal to youth and take every necessary measure to create an image of a responsible and serious industry with consumer responsibility.
It’s quite clear therefore that we are not alone in this challenge and the responsibility must fall onto the manufacturers and their marketing teams who develop these brands. It was recently suggested that 30-40% of displayed products in this year’s US VapExpo were of similar packaging to that seized in the Nottingham raid.
Is it really best practice for manufacturers to continue to use cartoons and funny graphics accompanied by names that are bound to appeal to the younger population? This places retailers in a perilous position whereby their desire to stock quality product is confounded by their responsibility to abide by regulations enforced by Trading Standards. In particular, when their visits to local vape stores leading up-to May 20th are only likely to increase, although the deadline for removing non-TPD compliant products does not stop the enforcement of pre-existing regulation.
All these senseless marketing tactics are only likely to hurt the healthy part of the industry but, most importantly, smokers and vapers, because this situation will definitely result in a restriction of flavours available. This situation needs to be strongly condemned and criticised, and action needs to be taken to remove such products from the market.