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Free guide: how to identify genuine and fake e-cigarettes

In the past two years, the penetration rate of e-cigarettes has become higher and higher, and it has become an indispensable consumer product in the hands of most smokers or ex-smokers. Unfortunately, this has also become a target for some lawbreakers to seek benefits. They are opportunistic, imitating e-cigarettes and selling them to people through unconventional means. Not only is the hard money earned by consumers wasted, but inferior product quality will also give consumers a bad experience to some extent, which also adds a lot of trouble to the imitation brand. After repeated crackdowns on counterfeiting, we have summarized the following features of counterfeit products for your reference.

Why are there fake e-cigarettes?

As the development of e-cigarettes has become more mature, the daily consumption of tens of millions of e-cigarettes worldwide has fascinated criminals. This has become their goal of opportunism and profiteering.

Shenzhen, China, is the land of Silicon Valley for electronic cigarettes. There are more than 1,000 electronic factories here, ranging from 100 square meters to 50,000 square meters. It is conceivable that how many e-cigarette manufacturers here profit through speculation. To survive, they can cooperate with some illegal businesses through marketing and packaging to jointly produce counterfeit products, and from which aspects of the products they can seek benefits:

  • Brand:
    The fastest way to obtain market orders is to forge popular brands in the market. For example, the puff bar and the geek bar are the most exaggerated fakes. In 2020, Puff Bar will sell more than 100 million genuine products and nearly 200 million imitation products. At that time, up to 80% of the e-cigarette manufacturing plants in Shenzhen were producing bar-shaped puff products. In addition to OEM puff Bar, Cali and POP, what else did you do? I think you already know the answer.
  • E-liquid:
    The price of e-cigarette e-liquid is different, the cheapest is about $31 per kilogram, and the highest is about $105 per kilogram. When you find that the flavor of the inferior product you have differs from the one you bought before, you can open up your psychological doubts.
  • Battery:
    Electronic cigarette battery is divided into three grades: pure cobalt battery, ternary cobalt battery, and pure manganese. The number of milliamperes determines the price. For example, the cost of a 280 mAh pure cobalt battery is about $0.7, ternary cobalt is about $0.38, and the price of pure manganese is about $0.23. The difference between them is the life span, almost one year, half a year, and three months. So when the product you have purchased has insufficient power, you can mentally put a question mark on the channel you purchased.
  • Packaging:
    Don’t underestimate the ordinary packaging. The quantity is large, and the quality is a little bit poor. Nevertheless, this is a good profit accumulating.
  • Anti-counterfeiting code:
    Except for the system, the price of each anti-counterfeiting code is around $0.46, while the counterfeit code is about $0.15.

The points summarized above are the primary sources of profit for counterfeit goods. As a wholesaler or consumer, should you understand why fake e-cigarettes?

How to identify fake e-cigarettes

  • price
    If the price you see on the official website of an e-cigarette brand, offline physical store, or some frequently purchased e-cigarette website is very different from the price he sold you, please be alert immediately.

    Because for illegal traders, no trick can attract you faster than attractive prices and allow you to give them your pocket money quickly. When you react, you may not be looking for him, but go to the brand agent or official website to complain. This is undoubtedly the perfect way to steal the benefits of others.

    For example, if you usually buy an ELF BAR 800puffs, the retail price is $8.9. However, at this time, if you see it on other websites or stores, the retail price is $2.9, so there is no doubt that it is fake.

    If you want to know more about why it is so low price and profitable, please read this (Why is $0.47 more profitable than a $5 e-cigarette, you will get more answers.
  • Package
    Suppose the quality of the packaging of the product you buy is inferior. In that case, their printing is not standard, and there are some obvious errors in the internal product display, then you can conclude that it should be a counterfeit product.
  • Security code
    Anti-counterfeiting codes can also be forged. You can check its code or scan it more than 3 times through the official website; the background system will automatically identify the authenticity. If it reminds you that it has been checked multiple times, it may be a cloned product.
  • Brand logo/serial number
    Each genuine electronic cigarette will be marked with the manufacturer’s brand and a traceable serial number. These logos represent the authenticity and quality of branded e-cigarette manufacturers. If the e-cigarette you bought does not have any identification mark or serial number, it is probably a fake e-cigarette.
  • product quality
    A real electronic cigarette’s internal and external structures can be perfectly and smoothly combined. And there are a few problems such as oil leakage or insufficient power to work. On the other hand, counterfeit e-cigarettes will have issues such as atomizer oil leakage, poor management, and uneven suction resistance. So please check these functions carefully when you receive the e-cigarette.
  • After-sales service
    Usually, reputable or guaranteed merchants provide 7 to 30 days of after-sales service or refunds. For example, if the product has oil leakage or other functional failures, we will give the other party a certain amount of after-sales compensation once it is determined that it is our problem. In addition, for customers with mature cooperation, a defective product rate of about three-thousandths of the purchased quantity is sent to the importer or agent as an after-sale supplement. This is a great way to convince customers that their products are authentic and reliable. If you don’t know, Maishou is one of them, always providing actual e-cigarette products. So if you find that your e-cigarette does not have any genuine warranty or guarantee, please do not believe in luck; it is likely to be fake. Most counterfeit e-cigarettes are of poor quality and cannot provide evidence.
  • Authorization
    Genuine products generally have authorized agents. If you are a wholesaler, you can ask the dealer to provide a letter of authorization, which will help you better judge the reliability of the procurement channel.

What should I do if I find that I bought a fake e-cigarette?

When you find that the e-cigarette you purchased is fake, please report it to the relevant reporting department immediately, and seek a refund through the merchant of the purchased channel. Of course, the refund depends on what you bought. Otherwise, the road to refunds may have nothing but frustration and anger.

There is another possibility that the vape you purchased agreed that the product they bought was cloned, and they didn’t know it. At this time, you should tell him and let him perform after-sales service through purchasing channels. For example, suppose their procurement channel is a legitimate enterprise. In that case, they also need to know the product’s authenticity and generally trace the source to return and exchange after-sales purchases through the wholesale channel. On the other hand, suppose he tells you clearly that they are selling cloned products. In that case, the quality is similar to the genuine ones, and the price is very favorable, then, unless you also consent to his reasons, please choose other purchase objects.

If you want to find the actual manufacturer or brand from the cloned e-cigarette packaging or inside to make a claim, then this is a futile road. Because counterfeit factories make cloned products, they are 1:1 plagiarism, you can’t know who he is, and they won’t be responsible for you. If you are a wholesaler, you will suffer severe losses because you are greedy for temporary gains. I can tell you responsibly that several of my clients have been deceived, and I have also reminded them not to be blinded by low prices. But they were not vigilant, and in the end, the loss was severe, and they came to me to complain and let me help them find a way.

What are the hazards of fake e-cigarettes?

I watched them discuss cloning e-cigarettes in some forums. Some people think that the price is perfect, even if it does not last as long as the original product, the taste is acceptable. But its price is meager and acceptable. No, brother, I have already enumerated the profit points of counterfeiting e-cigarettes with you earlier. It would help if you were tomorrow. Behind the cheap quality represents the health problems it brings to you. These hidden dangers will make you spend more money to go. Treat your body’s health.

  • Flavor, because they use cheap e-liquid, you may inhale an unpleasant experience.
  • Materials, to reduce costs as much as possible, clone businesses may change the original PCTG material nozzles to inferior non-food certified materials, which is harmful to the human body.
  • Inferior thermal coils cannot be heat-resistant correctly and will mislead you to inhale vaporized metal particles.
  • Fake and shoddy lithium-ion batteries and cutting-edge structural equipment may cause explosions or fires
  • Money losses that are difficult to recover. When unfortunate things happen, you cannot protect your interests through legitimate channels.

In addition to the hazards mentioned above, counterfeit e-cigarettes have many uncontrollable commercial risks. Some media have reported the explosive growth of e-cigarettes before. You may have seen consumers’ mouths blown to flesh and blood. Some people exploded while charging e-cigarettes by the bed. These are personal severe safety hazards. As for business, if you knowingly commit a crime, you will be punished by law. This is not only an economic loss but also a severe prison disaster. Not only will you lose your career and personal freedom, but it will also affect your family. This is not worth the loss. It is recommended that you buy from regular channels.

How to report fake e-cigarettes?

  • Check the PMTAVerified website.
    PMTAVerified is an independent organization that supervises consumers to know which e-cigarette companies have obtained PMTA status and which ones have not. This list is maintained by PMTAVerified staff and updated regularly.
  • Check the PMTAFailed website.
    PMTAFailed compiled a list of e-cigarette manufacturers that passed the PMTA processor failed. The website provides a searchable database of all companies that have submitted applications to the government to obtain PMTA. It also lists all companies that have failed or are still waiting for FDA approval.
  • View the general list of e-cigarette products approved by the FDA
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has compiled a list of authorized retailers authorized to sell on the market or meet the agency’s requirements for the above approval. The general list can be found on the agency’s website and searched by company name, job title, and location.
  • Contact law enforcement agencies or the National Intellectual Property Center
    Some law enforcement agencies have established anti-counterfeiting channels and clues providing channels. In addition, you can log on to the website to make inquiries or complaints or call the National Intellectual Property Center at 866-347-2423 to report counterfeit e-cigarette products.

How to buy genuine electronic cigarettes

After you read the above about the benefits and structure of counterfeit e-cigarettes, I believe you have a new understanding of fake or cloned e-cigarettes. When you have these recognition skills, you can prevent some pitfalls. But, of course, suppose you feel that it is troublesome and distressing to distinguish between true and false e-cigarettes. In that case, the fastest way is to choose a few reliable e-cigarette suppliers.

  • For buyers or importers
    Maishou is willing to be your candidate. We can provide the authorization certificates and product certifications required by e-cigarette brands. It is very beneficial to have a reliable alternative supplier for you who have just entered the e-cigarette field or have been engaged in the e-cigarette industry for a long time. Of course, you can also refer to the article recommendations of TOP suppliers and brands so that you can find more suitable supply channels.
  • For consumers
    When you buy from Amazon, Craigslist or eBay, you never know what you will get. I believe legitimate people are selling things there, but why take risks? There is no real benefit.

    If you buy from an e-cigarette store, be sure to ask questions. First, ask if they sell genuine products. Then, if you go home, ask if they will refund your money, check the authenticity code and find that you have a fake. If they don’t support it 100%, please don’t buy it.

    You can also buy it from a leading e-cigarette store so that you will get an insurance policy! Moreover, you can get a refund and warranty guarantee, and you know who you bought it. You can quickly contact the respective customer service department in your country and talk to them directly. This will ensure your interests.


The points mentioned above almost cover a guide to distinguish between genuine and fake e-cigarettes. I hope it will be helpful to you. Of course, the good news is that the Chinese government has included e-cigarettes in the scope of tobacco management and has issued related management measures. When I write this article, the China Tobacco Administration has Supervision e-cigarette manufacturers, brand owners, and e-cigarette stores across the country. And traders, etc., shall register and declare within 15 days and complete all the procedures to supervise better and control the quality of electronic cigarettes. Although it is impossible to ensure that all e-cigarettes exported from China are genuine, please trust the determination and authority of the Chinese government that lawbreakers will make the right choice in the face of enormous risks and meager benefits. As a result, I believe that there will be fewer and fewer fake and inferior e-cigarettes in the future. And there will be more and more open channels you can buy.

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