Accused of marketing to minors

The company Elf Bar is accused of marketing its disposable vapes to minors. Last summer, an investigation revealed that the company pays young influencers to advertise. Now the company is using the same tactics to counter piracy.

Since summer 2022, a video clip from factories producing disposable cigars labelled as "Elf Bars" has been circulating. The clip shows staff tasting the single-use models directly on the production line, without any protection on the nozzle. The clip has sparked debates on social media, including in Sweden. It is unclear who disseminated the video, but the reaction of the GeekVape, which owns Elf Barhas now become a controversial campaign in itself. 

"The company openly pays teenagers to promote its 'genuine' products. It doesn't matter if the message is to counteract fake Elfbars. They are using young people, minors, to spread their agenda and it is devastating for vejping everywhere" says the reviewer and vejp activist. Jai Haze in one of its posts on YouTube.

Paying young influencers

As part of the campaign, Elf Bar also published a report revealing that it has shut down 120 illegal factories producing fake Elf Bars. As recently reported by Vejpkollen.

Geekvape's campaign to raise awareness of piracy has received positive criticism, including from the UKVIA (UK trade organisation). At the same time, it has emerged that the company has chosen to use young influencers to promote the campaign. The offer involves showing pictures of well-organised factory environments, where GeekVape claims to produce authentic Elf Bars, for a fee. Something that Jai Haze interprets as fraudulent.

"We can't possibly know if these are true images or not," says Mr Perez. Jai Haze. "The market for disposable models, real or fake, is huge and everyone is competing with everyone. It is incredibly difficult to check whether this is real or not. Regardless, the company is showing that they are willing to pay young people to spread their message. I don't see it as information but as propaganda." Says Jai Haze who states that he has also been contacted by GeekVape to participate in the campaign.

Elf Bar already in the spotlight

Even before the reports of fake Elfbars, GeekVape has been criticised for using young influencers to promote the Elf Bar. This is particularly true in the US, where the age limit for buying e-cigarettes was recently raised to 21. But British media have also reacted. The Observer newspaper revealed earlier this year several cases where Elf Bar frequently appeared on social media, mainly TikTok, through non-age restricted posts. 

"We are doing everything we can to address the problem. WEP products should not fall into the hands of minors. We are doing everything we can to shut down unofficial Elf Bar social media campaigns from rogue retailers. All Elf Bar packaging clearly states that our products are not for sale to persons under 18 years of age." Elf Bar said in a statement to The Guardian Observer.

Read more:
Warns of millions of pirated disposable models

Chinese vaping giant flouting UK advertising rules on selling to children

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