Vaping has become incredibly popular among former smokers around the world, and nowhere is that truer than in South Africa. In 2019, it was estimated that more than 350,000 people in South Africa were vapers. It was also estimated that the South African vaping industry employed 9,500 people and that the industry would grow further to support as many as 14,000 jobs by 2027.
With the increased popularity of vaping, however, comes an increased risk of buying fake products. Counterfeiting especially plagues the most popular brands, with fake JUULpods® and fake Elf Bars® flowing out of China by the millions.
If you read about the benefits and popularity of vaping in South Africa and immediately jumped on your computer to find a “vape shop near me,” you might want to avoid making a hasty purchasing decision because counterfeit vaping products are more common than you might realize. It may turn out that the best way to buy authentic vapes in South Africa is by importing them from abroad – and in this article, we’ll explain why.
First, though, let’s learn more about what it’s like to be a vaper in South Africa.
What Are South Africa’s Vaping Regulations?
Until relatively recently, South Africa had few regulations directly addressing the vaping industry, making it one of the most permissive nations in the world in which to be a vaper. That, however, has begun to show signs of changing.
In February 2022, South Africa announced new taxes on many types of products including vapes and vape juice. The vape tax was scheduled to take effect in January 2023. According to an official announcement from the South African government, the tax would increase the price of vaping products by at least R2.90 per millilitre and would affect products with and without nicotine.
In addition to the vape tax, a new bill that would severely curtail the vaping industry is currently working its way through the South African Parliament. If passed, the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill (B33-2022) would ban both smoking and vaping in a great many public and private locations. The bill would force online vape shops to close, and at the health minister’s discretion, the bill could also result in a complete e-liquid flavour ban in South Africa.
At the time of writing, the bill is currently in the introductory stage.
How Common Are Fake Vapes in South Africa?
Fake vapes are much more common than you might think. They’re manufactured in the millions, and they end up on store shelves around the world. Although it’s impossible to know how many fake vapes have been sold or are currently being sold in South Africa, counterfeit vaping products have been a serious issue in the rest of the world.
In 2019, United States customs officers seized more than 2,500 counterfeit JUULpods® in raids taking place in Philadelphia and St. Louis. In 2020, a major producer of fake JUULpods® in China was shut down, resulting in the seizure of over 14,600 fake pods. The popular Elf Bar® brand has experienced similar issues, with a major anti-counterfeiting operation in 2021 and 2022 resulting in the closure of over 120 producers and sellers of counterfeit products and the seizure of over two million fake Elf Bars. As with counterfeit products in other industries, it’s likely that these efforts only catch a small portion of the fake products that are being produced. Millions of others probably slip through undetected.
If you’re worried about buying fake vapes in South Africa, one way to combat the counterfeiters is by looking for products that have authenticity codes on their packages. Don’t scan the QR code on the package to go to the manufacturer’s website, though, because the code could send you to a fake version of the site. The look-alike website will declare fake products to be authentic.
What Are the Dangers of Buying Fake Vapes?
The fact that the vaping industry’s manufacturers work so hard to catch and eliminate counterfeit products isn’t just a matter of protecting their profits. They also have a great interest in removing fake products from the market because those products are damaging to the official brands and are potentially even unsafe to use. These are just a few of the potential dangers of buying fake vapes.
- A fake vaping product may not taste the same as a real one and may not have the nicotine content stated on the package.
- A fake vaping product may contain contaminants or additives that could make the product unsafe to inhale.
- A fake disposable vape may not deliver the number of puffs advertised on the package.
- A fake disposable vape could have a low-quality or previously used battery cell that may not be safe to use.
In the Vaping Industry, the Product Source Matters
When you buy vapes in South Africa, it’s extremely important to know where the retailer gets its products. When a popular vaping product isn’t officially available in a certain region – like JUUL® in South Africa, for instance – retailers are compelled to get that product from wherever it’s available. In some cases, a product source might not be entirely above board. That’s when the risk of buying a fake product is highest. Vapes obtained from shady distributors might also be discontinued or extremely old and could have lost the majority of their flavour and much of their nicotine content. Those problems don’t happen with companies that only source products from the original manufacturers and official distributors, as we do here at Premium Vape.
What Are the Benefits of Buying Vapes in South Africa from Abroad?
If authenticity is important to you, it could be that the best way to buy vapes in South Africa is by importing them from abroad – and that may prove to be especially true if South Africa bans flavoured vapes and forces the closure of domestic online vape shops as expected. These are the benefits that you’ll enjoy when you import vape gear from Premium Vape.
- We guarantee that our products are authentic because we obtain them only from official sources.
- We sell vaping products in very high volumes, so you won’t find an old or stale product here.
- We source products made for all markets around the world, enabling you to enjoy the biggest selection of disposable vapes and vape pods in one place.
- It’s faster than you might think. DHL shipments to South Africa from our New Zealand warehouse typically take about six days.
We hope you’ve found this article informative and that you now feel better equipped to buy real vapes in South Africa and avoid fake products. Importing your vape gear from a high-end overseas seller like Premium Vape can be a great experience, and it’s also a perfect way to ensure that the products that you receive will always be authentic and fresh. If we can do anything to help you through the buying process, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Note: Please make sure you always check the latest regulations in your country before importing our products. The info in this article is only a guide only and was correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. It cannot however be in any way considered binding legal advice. It is your responsibility to check it is legal to import the products you order.