Crystal Bar: Underage E-cigarette Promotions and Social Media Shutdown

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Crystal Bar: Underage E-cigarette Promotions and Social Media Shutdown
Banned platform TikTok accounts of UK's top e-cigarette company, SKE Crystal Bar, after sending products to underage reporters.

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According to a report from BBC on August 26th, SKE Crystal Bar organized an online giveaway on the instant messaging platform Discord in July, which has a significant number of underage users. The promotion was also advertised on Instagram.


According to the latest data from data provider NielsenIQ, SKE is currently the second largest e-cigarette retailer in the UK, with sales exceeding 30 million units last year. It is worth noting that Nielsen's data does not include independent retailers and e-cigarette stores. The report suggests that SKE's actual sales may exceed 100 million.


BBC journalists took part in the event. The reporters stated that they were required to declare themselves as being over 18 years old but there was no additional age verification process. Subsequently, SKE sent them two e-cigarettes by mail.


The report also states that after contacting SKE, BBC found that several SKE-related social media accounts (including YouTube and TikTok) have been closed and are currently awaiting review.


Serge Davies, European Media Director of SKE, informed BBC, "We plan to relaunch these accounts in collaboration with a local social media company that has a stronger understanding of local laws and customs.


Translation: Here is the full translation of the article:


Headline: E-cigarette Giant "Crystal Bar" Shuts Down TikTok Account Following Distribution of Promotional Items Without Age Verification.


The UK's second-largest e-cigarette company has shut down its social media accounts after sending e-cigarettes to journalists without age verification through an online giveaway campaign.


The Crystal Bar disposable e-cigarette, owned by the Chinese government's SKE company, has experienced rapid sales growth, but has faced criticism due to its appeal to children.


In an exclusive interview, Serge Davies, the market director of SKE, stated that the closure of these accounts was carried out for "review" purposes.


SKE apologizes for not participating in the government's recycling program.


Crystal Bar一次性电子烟 can be found everywhere in supermarkets, newsstands, and e-cigarette stores across the UK. Designed to release hundreds of puffs containing nicotine, these disposable e-cigarettes have experienced astonishing growth in recent years.


According to new data from data provider NielsenIQ, Chinese company SKE, manufacturer of Crystal Bar, is now the second largest e-cigarette seller in the UK, selling over 30 million units in the past year. Nielsen's data does not include independent retailers and e-cigarette stores, and it is believed that SKE's actual sales exceed 100 million.


The free sample giveaway has always been a key part of its rise - last month, the company held an online giveaway event on the Discord instant messaging platform and promoted it through its Instagram channel. Discord was originally designed as a platform for gamers and has a significant number of users under the age of 18.


A BBC reporter participated in a competition where they were asked to declare that they were at least 18 years old, without any further verification requirements. Subsequently, two e-cigarettes were sent through the mail.


Selling e-cigarettes to individuals under the age of 18 is illegal.


After contacting SKE, BBC found out that several social media accounts have been shut down for "review", including their YouTube and TikTok channels.


Serge Davies, the European Director of Media at SKE, informed the BBC, "We intend to reestablish these accounts in collaboration with a local social media company that possesses a deeper understanding of local laws and customs.


SKE's two biggest competitors, China's ELFBAR company and the UK-listed BAT company (producer of Vuse e-cigarette), have both stated that they do not publish content on TikTok. This is largely due to the significant risks associated with being present on children's smartphones.


However, SKE is committed to the platform. "We will seek to launch an exciting new strategy on TikTok," Mr. Davies said. He also pledged to continue e-cigarette giveaway campaigns. "This seems to have generated a lot of interest and enthusiasm for the brand," he said.


When asked to defend a specific video on the SKE TikTok account, which showed the opening of Crystal Bar with an accompanying sound saying "I wish I could be as cool as the kids," Mr. Davies stated, "None of our policies are targeted towards the children's market. So what we are doing on our social media accounts is simply trying to create some buzz.


Chairman of the Health Committee, Steve Brine, has expressed concern over the ease with which e-cigarettes can fall into the hands of children due to a lack of proper regulation.


Responsible manufacturers should not employ promotional programs that may encourage children to start smoking. What they need instead is protection from potential harmful influences.




Disposable e-cigarettes, which contain electronic components including small batteries that are difficult to recycle and expensive, have become a common sight. Local governments are calling for a ban on these devices.


Like all electronics manufacturers, e-cigarette company SKE has a legal obligation to register a recycling program, under which manufacturers are required to contribute towards the cost of recycling. However, as of this month, SKE has not yet registered for such programs or paid the estimated cost of around £100,000.


Mr. Davies expressed that the company apologizes for this issue, which he attributed to "communication problems." "We appreciate that you have emphasized this point, and we have now implemented relevant measures," he stated.


SKE has established its first company in the UK this month, according to documents filed with Companies House. The filings reveal that the Shanghai State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) holds "significant control" over the company. SASAC represents the Chinese government in investment management.


SKE is owned by Shenzhen Yinghe Technology Co., Ltd., with the largest shareholder being Shanghai Electric Company. The latter is in turn owned by entities associated with the Chinese government, according to its annual report.


In last year's report to shareholders, Yinghe stated that its e-cigarette sales target was not achieved due to the crackdown by the Chinese government. As a result, the company is now focusing on international expansion to make up for the shortfall. The United Kingdom has currently become its largest market in Europe.


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