FRF warns consumers about illegal, potentially deadly vaping products
Stock image via Adobe.

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Florida is No. 1 in illegal vape sales.

More illegal, potentially dangerous vapes are landing in Florida than anywhere else in the country, according to new data highlighted by the Florida Retail Federation (FRF).

The volume of illegal nicotine dispensing devices, also known as vaping products, comes as Florida — the third largest state by population — sits at No. 1 in vape sales.

Data collected by vape manufacturers shows an expected $363 million in illegal vape products will be sold within Florida this year — 20% above the national average — accounting for as much as 58% of overall vape product sales. Five years ago, illicit vapes accounted for less than 10% of vape products sold.

Illegal vape sales, 2019-2023. Image via the Florida Retail Federation.

Nationally, illegal disposables are selling at an annual rate of more than $2.6 billion in tracked channels, but estimates suggest it could easily be twice that amount when factoring in the untracked market.

According to the data, the epicenter of the illicit vape trade is Shenzhen, China, which is known as the country’s “vaping district.” In Fiscal Year 2019 alone, 83% of all U.S. seizures involving IP-infringing vaping products imported into the country had originated from China or Hong Kong.

In May, the federal Food and Drug Administration added two new manufacturers to their banned “Red List” of illicit products: Elf Bar (or EB Design) and Esco Bar. The “Red List” designation enables Customs and Border Protection to detain a product at the time of entry to prevent illegal products from being distributed within the country.

However, federal U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are overwhelmed with refugees crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, which has allowed a precipitous drop in seizures of illicit, copyright-infringing vaping devices at U.S. Ports of Entry.

FRF warned that illegal vaping products not only threaten legitimate businesses but may also pose a danger to consumers.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody recently warned in a consumer alert video that some illegal vapes possibly contain fentanyl — the opioid responsible for the preponderance of overdose deaths in Florida and elsewhere — and other toxic, potentially deadly substances.

“We’re also seeing news stories about high school students suffering from complications after using vapes that might contain fentanyl,” Moody warned, adding that “any substance sold on the black market could contain fentanyl” and that “using just one time can kill.”

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


2 comments

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 20, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    Oh Ashley, Vapes “might” contain fentanyl, and that’s why there’s so many fentanyl deaths in Florida? Quit trying to blame vapes for your failures as Florida’s AG, Ashley. Your slip is showing, Ashley. We all see it clearly.

    Ashley’s AG Strategy
    Step 1- FAIL
    Step 2- FAIL SOME MORE
    Step 3- Blame vapes

    LOL Ashley. Rhonda’s AG.

  • Earl Pitts American

    June 20, 2023 at 8:26 pm

    Good evening America,
    I, Earl Pitts Ametican, was aware some time ago that an excessive amount of vapeing products were being shipped to Florida Retailers. In addition the Florida retailers were being forced to run “specials” on these vaping products in order to get as many Floridians as possable addicted to these killer products.
    I sent in my Earl Pitts American Fan Club financed team of investigators and an evil plot to kill off as many Floridians by vape poison as possable was traced back to The White House. Their Target Florida scheme was to kill off as many Floridians by vapeacide as possable to effect the outcome of the 2024 Presidental Election.
    We reported this scheme to authorities and as a result we are facing this unpleasent situation today.
    Thank you America,
    EPA

Comments are closed.


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