Roskachestvo will assess how the legislation on placing vapes on the shelves in stores at home, specialty stores and supermarkets is being observed. Today, many sellers violate the law: since June 1, it is impossible to openly demonstrate such products on a par with cigarettes.
Previously, the ban applied only to nicotine-containing products. But this summer, lawmakers extended it to nicotine-free liquid, tobacco heating devices and vapes. Thus, the loophole in the legislation has been eliminated. Now any electronic cigarettes, as well as refills for them, must be hidden from the eyes of visitors. And the open demonstration of such products on the counter is prohibited and is punishable by a fine.
At first glance, it is clear to any citizen that not everyone observes the law. Vapes are openly displayed in shop windows: they can be seen passing by tobacco shops or specialized "islands" in shopping malls.
And they could not check entrepreneurs for a long time. There was a moratorium on inspections. But it won't be long to continue in the same spirit: the moratorium on inspections of retail outlets selling tobacco and nicotine-containing products has recently been canceled. And Roskachestvo, for its part, is interested in protecting citizens, especially children, from harmful influences.
Unfortunately, this is not the only problem in the vaping market. The issue of counterfeit liquids for electronic cigarettes is much more global. The share of illegal trafficking of "one-size-fits-all" and liquids for disposable devices, according to the NSCC, amounted to 79%. And if we consider only liquids, then 93%. At the same time, according to expert estimates, consumers of such products are 5 million adult residents of Russia.
To combat counterfeiting in 2022-2023, the Russian Government, together with legislative bodies, adopted a comprehensive package of measures to regulate electronic means of delivery of nicotine (ESDS), as well as liquids for them.
Since December 15, 2022, the digital marking "Honest Sign" has been introduced. But for now, it is possible to retail devices and liquids without labeling if they are manufactured or imported into the country before this date. From December 1, the sale of vapes and liquids without a labeling code will be completely banned.
On September 1, 2023, the release of vaping refills is prohibited if they do not comply with GOST-R "Liquids for ESDN". From October 10, 2023 to January 1, 2025, the moratorium on inspections of retail outlets where tobacco and nicotine-containing products are sold has been lifted. And from March 1, 2024, the production of ESDN and nicotine raw materials must be licensed and the equipment registered.
The measures taken and implemented are already having an effect. So, "Honest Sign" recorded a sharp increase in sales of legal products. If 47.8 thousand sales of labeled vapes and liquids were registered in April 2023, then in August there were 1.7 million of them, which indicates a sharp whitewashing of the market. And since the beginning of the year, the number of outlets selling labeled products has increased 100—fold - from 500 to 50,000. An even greater effect is expected from December 1.
— Now the "Honest Sign" can be found on absolutely all types of tobacco products. Cigarettes were marked first, then cigars, hookah tobacco, chewing tobacco, sticks. Vapes and liquids have become the last category to be included in the labeling. That is, from December 1, it will be impossible to buy any kind of nicotine products at all without a special code. In all industries where labeling is introduced, it quickly gives a noticeable effect on whitewashing the market. In tobacco, this is a decrease in counterfeit goods by a quarter, to 12.1%, by the end of 2022, 45 illegal factories closed, an additional 174 billion in budget revenues. In vapes and liquids, taking into account the huge share of illegal products, the effect will be even more noticeable. It is important that buyers themselves are actively involved in the process of checking goods using the free mobile application "Honest Sign". It has 14 million users, and this figure is constantly growing, – said the deputy director of the CRPT (operator of the state marking system "Honest Sign") Revaz Yusupov.
Of course, it is impossible to completely clear the market of counterfeit only by prohibitive measures. Despite all efforts, illegal vapes are sold through social networks, Telegram channels, etc. Therefore, it is important not only to fight counterfeiting, but also to enable legal trade to work, to provide consumers with a safe alternative to counterfeit at a competitive price.
An important measure is cost regulation. According to a survey by the research holding "Romir", with an increase in cigarette prices even by 10%, 61% of respondents are ready to switch to illegal products, and 49% are ready to switch to counterfeit products.
However, it should be understood that the purchase of counterfeit products carries great health risks. Even legal vapes cannot be called completely safe — it has not yet been studied what happens in the long term due to the regular effects of mixtures on the body.
Three years ago, we talked about a study of an organization similar to Roskachestvo in France. After testing several thousand liquids, the researchers identified about 1,200 additives used.
It turned out that manufacturers often neglect compliance with regulations, in particular, they write an incorrect composition and do not warn about the presence of toxic substances in it. For example, in liquid for vapes and electronic cigarettes, there is an increased nicotine content compared to what is stated on the label. It also contains components used in energy products 17 times more often than in conventional cigarettes, and carcinogens and mutagens are one and a half times more common. The researchers could not identify a number of substances in the composition at all!
The composition of legal (labeled) liquids is clearly regulated and controlled, which gives more guarantees of safety to the consumer. The risks of encountering substances prohibited for use in such products in legal products, elevated concentrations of nicotine, etc. tend to zero. Therefore, Roskachestvo urges: if you really use vape, then legal. Check the marking, today it is the only guarantee of authenticity, which means compliance with the requirements for the composition.