Elfbar: Vape firm claims it will survive UK disposable ban

  • By Ben King
  • Business reporter, BBC News

Image supply, Liudmila Chernetska

The firm behind two of the UK’s hottest vape manufacturers is “well-equipped” to survive the upcoming ban on disposables, claims its distributor.

Elfbar and Lost Mary have already launched reusable variations of their common disposable vapes.

However, councils warned that the UK authorities mustn’t let producers exploit “loopholes” within the ban.

The firm that makes each manufacturers mentioned it was merely “addressing demand” for a software to assist people who smoke stop.

Green Fun Alliance is likely one of the fundamental distributors within the UK of Elfbar and Lost Mary, which collectively account for practically half of the British market.

It is owned by low-profile Chinese entrepreneur Shengwei Zhang, 51, who additionally controls the businesses that make Elfbar and Lost Mary vapes.

The newest accounts for Green Fun Alliance present that its gross sales have skyrocketed as disposable vapes rose in reputation – virtually tripling to £117.3m for the 12 months to 31 January, 2023.

In a submitting with Companies House, Green Fun Alliance famous the federal government’s plans to ban them from subsequent April “will have a detrimental effect on sales and profitability”.

“However, management have been preparing for this and are well equipped to pivot their business to the exclusive sale of non-disposable vapes and related products,” it mentioned.

Some indicators of Elfbar and Lost Mary’s future plans are already seen. In the previous 12 months, they’ve launched reusable variations of their disposable vapes.

The fundamental distinction is that the liquid which accommodates the nicotine is available in a replaceable pod, and a USB port on the backside permits the battery to be recharged. It means the physique of the vape might be reused.

Image caption, Spot the distinction: Disposable variations of Elfbar and Lost Mary on the left, new reusable variations on the best

A spokesperson for Elfbar mentioned: “We are continuing to diversify our product lines by providing viable alternatives to single-use devices, addressing the demand for a harm reduction tool that is helping to assist millions of adults [to quit smoking].”

But critics contend that the brand new vapes will not ship the environmental advantages which a ban was supposed to convey.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, was one of many main voices calling for the ban.

A spokesperson mentioned: “The incoming ban on disposable vapes must ensure that the definition of disposable is locked down, and avoids the potential for producers to exploit loopholes, including producers adding a USB port to disposable vapes to bypass these restrictions.”

Scott Butler, government director of Material Focus, a non-profit organisation arrange deal with electrical waste, famous the rising pattern of vapes utilizing pods. “This switch may have negligible environmental impact as these are still items which are low priced and easy to throw away,” he mentioned.

Elfbar’s largest rival, Chinese government-controlled SKE, has launched the same reusable model of its hottest product, Crystal Bar. It didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Green Fun Alliance acts as a distributor for Elfbar and Lost Mary merchandise within the UK, dealing with gross sales to comfort shops and impartial vape retailers.

Sales of Elfbar to supermarkets are dealt with by way of its UK-based grasp distributors, corporations comparable to Supreme PLC and Totally Wicked.

Green Fun Alliance made a revenue of £8.3m, up from £1.9m the 12 months earlier than, and paid a dividend of £2m. That is more likely to be only a small proportion of Shengwei Zhang’s income from vape gross sales within the UK.

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