Geek Bar recently urged authorities in the United Kingdom to pursue further efforts in controlling the sales of vape and e-cigarette products that do not adhere to UK vape regulations.
A series of letters were sent to various trading standards in major cities throughout the country.
The huge popularity of disposable vapes in the UK has led to a surge in illegal trade from sellers, most commonly convenience stores. Unlike with other countries where black markets have emerged, these legal sellers are willingly flaunting certain regulations in the UK’s already lax market.
Allen Yang, CEO of Geek Bar, has openly addressed the problems that the disposable vape market in the UK is currently facing.
“It’s easy to blame the manufacturer, but these products are finding their way into the UK through customs and being sold in retail outlets across the country,” Yang said in a statement.
Who Is Geek Bar?
Geek Bar is one of the world’s fastest-growing and most popular disposable vape brands on the market today. The company first made its debut in 2015, but has only managed to garner tangible success in the past few years due to the skyrocket in demand for disposables.
Along with Elf Bar, these products have taken the UK market by storm.
Like roughly 90% of the other products in the whole of the vape industry, Geek Bars are manufactured in Shenzhen, China.
Geek Bar has also been one of the most vocal brands today in terms of combatting the trading of illegal vape products, particularly within the UK.
Earlier this year, the vape brand introduced a ‘supply chain charter.’ The goal was to ensure both distributors and retailers are held to their relevant regulations.
“We will not tolerate malpractice amongst distributors and retailers who want to supply and sell our products but do not do it legitimately,” said Geek Bar CEO Allen Yang. “Through the development of the charter we are upping the ante even more to ensure rogue traders do not succeed in our marketplace.”
In addition to this, the brand has been linked to the closing of 12 factories in the Shenzhen region that were caught manufacturing counterfeit Geek Bars for distribution within the UK. These counterfeit products, intended for sale within only the UK, numbered greater than 100,000 devices.
Through VapeWatch, Geek Bar has certainly convinced many that they are committed entirely to improving the disposable industry as a whole.
Getting Rid of the Competition
It cannot be denied that Geek Bar hoping to reduce the amount of illegal trade within the UK is a good thing for the consumer. However, it could be seen as simply spinning the narrative to gain merit in the public eye.
In the letters recently sent to various trading standards throughout the UK, Geek Bar cited vape products that contain more than the legal nicotine concentration, but the company itself has landed in hot water before for almost exactly what they are criticizing other companies for doing now.
Just last year in September, Geek Bar was investigated by the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA). Through this, they were found to be openly selling vapes that do not comply with the UK’s strength regulations of no more than 20mg/ml of nicotine.
“We have been working tirelessly over the last six months to review our business operations to ensure that no stone has been left unturned and ensure adult smokers continue to enjoy the highest quality and safest vaping experience when using our products,” Yang said.
There has been no confirmation that the items found illegally on the market, namely the Geek Bar Pro, were indeed knowingly distributed by Geek Bar themselves or whether there was foul play involved.
Geek Bar’s reaction and doubling down on their own operation certainly helps lead bystanders to believe the latter motive. And, of course, when it comes to business, if this can be used to further advance the company’s hold on the market, all the better for them.
The UK’s Disposable Industry
The UK is currently demonstrating the potential of the disposable vape industry better than most other countries. While many others have sought to enforce flavor bans and similar restrictions, the UK has essentially adopted vaping as a means to smoking cessation.
This has caused a massive surge in the size of the disposable market as these products continue to trend with the consumers.
While the UK market is certainly large, with the number of vapers at an all-time high of 4.3 million, it is not large enough to meet all of Shenzhen’s supply. Coupled with the other countries moving towards prohibiting vape products, particularly flavored ones, it becomes clear why Geek Bar is seeking alternative methods of beating such fierce competition.
Manufacturers are trying to reap as much profit as possible from the markets where they are still essentially free to capitalize.
Geek Bar’s standing as a leader in the disposable market has put a lot of eyes on them. This means their actions in the market, and whether they are positive or negative, will be even more scrutinized than other manufacturer’s.
Perhaps the Chinese company learned from once-industry leader Juul’s mistakes just how important keeping the public happy truly can be when it comes to being the most popular vape product.
Chinese disposable vape company Geek Bar has sought government aid in the UK to relieve some of the pressures from illegal vape products currently on the market. The company has done similar moves in the past to aid in the prevention of illicit trade.
Whether Geek Bar’s motivation is simply to see some competitors being removed from the market or the company truly stands by its words will likely never be known. In any case, the truth is probably a mix of the two agendas.
Either way, it certainly is for the better that unregulated products are dealt with properly, especially given the fact that the UK is the global leader in adopting vapes for harm reduction.