Vaping has always been at the forefront of negative press with sceptics and anti vape campaigners leading the pack against anything and everything they can find about Vaping. One of the main criticisms that has always been aimed at Vaping is the fact it is appealing to children, and this does have some weight to it with the recent boom in popularity of vaping devices being used by adolescents aged 11-17.
The vaping industry has had to contend with having manufacturers of vaping products who do not think of the bigger picture of the damage they may be causing to the industry by creating and marketing products that may further appeal to children with the use of cartoon characters, or modelling them off popular drinks and confectionary brands.
In this article, I’m going to look at the history of what has happened in the past, as well as the current day, and why it is crucial for these brands to not be promoted on the vaping market to protect the vaping industry from any more negative attention being received.
Irresponsible vape brands need to stop
As mentioned above, certain brands of vaping products, such as vape juice as well as more recently, Disposable vape devices have had some very questionable packaging designs, and whilst it may not have been a direct intention from the manufacturers, appeal a lot to a younger age demographic whom may not be of legal vaping age.
I can recall from memory several brands of vape juice over the years that have come and gone that have been modelled off popular sweets and drinks brands, just with a play on words to create the brand name (and possible avoid a lawsuit from the genuine brand) Billionz and Chuppa Vape were both sold on the market, advertising they “taste just like the sweets” and also Monsta which was based off the popular energy drink flavours, which is ironic as they are actually allowed to be sold to children under 16 anyway.
The bottles that housed this copycat flavour vape juice were designed exactly like the packaging of the original product featuring bright stand out colours, cartoon characters, and the tagline along the lines of
“Tastes just like the real thing!”
Sweets and confectionary are marketed and designed purposefully for younger people, so a vape brand copying these labels and gimmicks then lead to their vaping products being further appealing to the younger demographic than they may have already been.
I’ve been in the vaping industry now for 6 years, and seen a lot of these brands come and then go as quick as they were created, simply because of the criticism and uproar about the design that the brands simply doesn’t stick around for long before it’s been embargoed or they concede defeat and do the right thing by removing it from sale and distribution. But a new problem has arisen, and the vaping industry is being backed into a corner yet again by anti vaping campaigners.
As you may have expected what this next topic of discussion was going to be about, it’s all about Disposable Vapes!
These have seen an enormous jump in popularity by people within the vaping community, but the problem the vaping industry is facing is the fact they are being used in alarming numbers by adolescents and underage teens due to the fact they are so appealing and “all the rage” amongst friendship groups.
Statistics show the usage of these devices by 11-17 year olds in 2022 had multiplied by over 7 times compared to the amount that used them in 2021. This is such a big jump, and a worrying one at that as well.
Anti-vaping campaigners have latched on to this with both hands and calls for regulation action on Disposables have been coming in thick and fast with immediate action wanted.
Whilst I agree with some of these claims for a regulation to be bought in to stop them being so appealing to children, the fact still remains that they are a vaping product that people are using as a nicotine replacement therapy tool to help them quit smoking, so an outright removal of them from the market would be quite extreme.
What can be done though, is the removal of these irresponsibly designed devices which feature cartoons on the boxes, the copying of popular drinks and sweets brands like Monster or Nerds on the packaging and flavourings, and also stop the production of disposable vape devices that are shaped like ice lollies or other things that would enhance the appeal of these to underage users even more (yes, they really do exist)
Promotion of products on social media also needs to stop
As I’ve highlighted in a previous article, there was a huge uproar last year when Elfbar saw it’s account officially banned from TikTok after the brand was caught using underhanded techniques to indirectly promote their Disposable vape products on the social media platform.
Influencers on TikTok posted videos of an “unboxing” of a large gifted box received from Elfbar which contained vast quantities of all the different flavoured Elfbar Disposable vaping devices that they company have on offer. The influencers were seen using the products in their video, and tagged Elfbars TikTok handle in the caption, linking back to their main account.
In TikTok’s terms and conditions, it clearly states the promotion of any tobacco or nicotine based products are strictly prohibited and any promotion will result in an instant banning of accounts. And that is exactly the rules that TikTok enforced, when it permanently banned Elfbar from the social media platform after a huge backlash ensued following these influencing videos that were uploaded.
However, despite the T&C’s clearly stating the rules, other accounts are using the platform to promote vaping, especially the use of disposables, with some accounts even advertising the sale of them, offering “discreet packaging so nobody will know” which to me sounds a bit like an underhanded promotion for younger people to get their hands on them as no age verification process is necessary when purchasing.
TikTok is the social media platform used most by the 11-17 year old age bracket, and people who make content for this platform know it as well, and they are very clever with what they produce and how they angle it to catch the attention of the younger generation. More policing on this matter is definitely required going forward I think.
The problems for the vaping industry if this continues
The vaping industry has only just recovered from the constant criticism from the aforementioned vape juice brands marketed to be similar to popular brands of sweets and drinks, and now it’s back under the cosh with the introduction and promotion of the above-mentioned vaping devices.
The consistent releasing and promotion of these irresponsible products is just giving more fuel to throw on the proverbial fire by anti-vaping campaigners about how bad vaping and the industry is for letting these products exist. But it’s unfair that the whole industry gets tarnished with the same brush because of these thoughtless manufacturers making these products that receive all the negative attention.