Vape Smuggling: The Impact Of These Products on the Public

Smuggling continues to pose a significant economic challenge, impacting the economy, public budget, fair market competition, and, notably, the health risks posed to consumers by smuggled goods. These products evade regulatory standards across the board, irrespective of their nature.

Yet, the urgency escalates and demands heightened attention when it comes to newly introduced products, particularly those directly impacting public health. Their recent emergence might serve as doors for smuggling, evading standard customs regulations and protocols, leading to associated penalties.

Mohamed Rashad, a member of the Together for Consumer Protection Association, says that the rapid technological and scientific advancements have led to the emergence of products that can easily manipulate customs procedures or evade them due to their novelty and differences.

98% of the Electronic Smoking Market Is Smuggled Through Customs

Rashad cites as an example alternative smoking products, known as “vapes,” which require strict health regulation due to their direct impact on consumer health.

These items hold a significant market share, with smuggled products accounting for nearly 98% of the total vaping market in Egypt, valued at 48 billion pounds annually. This results in tax and customs duties amounting to nearly 14 billion pounds, 98% of which are lost.

Despite this, these products are widespread in markets and tobacco shops, easily identifiable by the absence of the required label indicating that they have not undergone any health inspections suitable for their direct connection to public health.

Mohamed Rashad urges consumers to ensure the presence of the required label on these important products before purchasing them to refrain from buying those without the required label and to notify the association, the Consumer Protection Agency, and the regulatory authorities to take the necessary measures in this regard.

He also urges the government to reassess and tighten customs procedures to better suit the characteristics of modern alternative smoking products, such as vape products, in order to close any loopholes or procedural gaps.

This should be coupled with stricter supervision of local manufacturing facilities and unlicensed products through increased industrial control campaigns, as well as the efforts of supply and internal trade administration and investigation departments.

These initiatives are designed to combat this issue, protect public health, ensure the collection of due customs and tax revenues from these goods, and provide a fair competitive environment with legitimate products that contribute to public funds and are subject to the authority of all regulatory and health bodies. Ultimately, this safeguards the overall health of consumers.