News and Events

Counterfeit Vapes in Your Town?
March 14, 2022

With the growing trend of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), also known as electronic cigarettes, in todays society raises many concerns on many fronts. Over the last 6 years the appeal of a ENDS has surged with an increase of media campaigns, sales promotions, and daily users. With this latest tobacco trend flooding the marketplace their appeal has not only caught the attention of legal aged tobacco users but also the yonger generation.

In 2020 the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey showed an increase in daily users of these ENDS products amongst school aged children even in Gilchrist County, an alarming 20%. This influx of youth users in these products have attracted companies attention leading them to create new flavors, brighter boxes, and sleeker designs in hopes to keep these young users coming back. Of course this is concerning not only for the health of the children in our community but also now there can be more to worry about.

Now some of these products on the shelves are starting to be discovered as counterfeits. One of the biggest one of these? The popular “Rick & Morty Vapes” to appeal to the youth who follow one of the most popular shows on Cartoon Networks Adult Swim. These products have been seized by Customs and Border Patrol on multiple occasions around the country. Over 77,000 were seized at Chicagos O’Hare International Airport, an estimated 1.5 million dollars of merchandise. On initial inspection the products appeared to be made by the U.S. company Movkin which ships out of Los Angeles, Claifornia, but further inspection revealed the seized merchandise was actually imported from Shenzhen, China.

But what makes these products illegal? The use of popular cartoon names and faces such as “Rick & Morty, The Simpsons, or Family Guy” all are trademarked by the respected company who created them. When these products were seized by U.S. customs it was discovered the that Cartoon Network did not authorize any use of their characters on these products. This neglegence towards U.S. copyright laws seems to be a common practice for some of these manufacturers overseas, and since they are not within the county legally there is not much we can do. Federal and State laws both prohibit in dealing in counterfeit products which could lead to significant penalties or jail time. Even if the store owner does not know if the products are infringing on copyright laws.

So if you see these products out in your community please make note of it and aways give the store owner the benefit of doubt. They most likely do not know these products are infringing on copyright laws and would more than likely take those products off the shelves. If you see any of these products you can reach out and contact your local Tobacco Prevention Specialist or someone at your Health Department if there is a large influx of these oversea manufatued electronic vaping devices.