Fake e-cigarettes rampant in PH

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    E-cigarette manufacturer RELX Technology is rolling out its anti-counterfeit campaign in the Philippines as part of a wider crackdown against fake devices.

    In a statement, Eddie Chew, regional director of external affairs at RELX Technology, said the company is keen to implement an initiative known as the Golden Shield Program, which aims to tackle the counterfeit trade.

    Since its inception in August 2019, the program has led to the seizure of hundreds of thousands of counterfeit vapor devices, e-liquids, and other merchandise. Many of them were destined for Southeast Asian markets including the Philippines.

    In June and July of 2020 alone, the company aided authorities in China in seizing over 70,000 counterfeit e-cigarette products with an estimated street value of over $700,000.

    “The Golden Shield Program is piloted in China but we are open to collaborating with government departments and intellectual property agencies in addressing the issue of counterfeits in the Philippines too,” said Chew. “Providing training and sharing intelligence are some of the ways we can work together.”

    According to RELX Technology, counterfeit vape products have become commonplace in the Philippines, where illegal vendors take advantage of the fast-growing industry to make fast profits, while producing products of dubious quality, which pose a serious health risk to Filipino consumers.

    These counterfeit products often contain harmful chemicals that could cause injury or death, Chew said.

    RELX Technology iRELX’s laboratories performed a series of tests on counterfeit vapor pods and found that they contain inferior e-liquids with harmful substances. As an example, toluene was found at levels beyond standard safety limits. Nicotine levels also did not match what was stated on the packaging. In addition, the counterfeit devices use untested and uncertified lithium batteries which are prone to leaks and even explosions. There has already been a number of cases such batteries have exploded and caused injuries.

    “The Golden Shield Program yielded very good results in China, and we hope that by bringing it to the Philippines, we can create more awareness among Filipino consumers of the risks counterfeit products pose, and do what we can to help address this problem in the industry,” Chew said.

    RELX customers can verify the authenticity of their product by scanning the QR code on the product packaging.