What are Fake E-Cigs and How to Avoid Them

Vaping Guru
Oct. 2, 2017
by Vaping Guru

Fake e-cigs are popping up everywhere. If you find out you have been ripped off by a phony, clone vapor product, the reality is that you will have little recourse. There is no point sugar coating this for you. Your best defense is caution and, honestly, suspicion. If a vape deal seems like it is too good, be aware that it may be. Don’t let the rip-off artists who are currently infiltrating the vapor industry make you their next victim.

Caveat emptor! The Latin phrase that dates back to the 16th-century is timeless. Let the buyer beware. The concept is that the buyer is responsible for knowing what they are buying. This is especially true for the electronic cigarette industry. The market is filled with fake e-cigs and they can be found virtually anywhere. From online vendors to vape shops to discount electronics websites to online auction sites. It’s not a pretty picture.

What Is A Fake E-Cig?

Fake e-cigs

A fake e-cig is a counterfeit. A clone of a brand name vape product. It is the imported vapor products like Aspire, Smok, iJoy etc. that are the target of counterfeiters and clone artists. A fake e-cig will look like the real thing but in reality is not. Clones are usually made using the cheapest parts and pieces and with sketchy software to boot.

Do you want to get an idea of how bad it is? If you do then just consider these numbers. In Shenzhen, China you will find a few dozen of the best e-cigarette manufacturers in the world. State of the art factories using the best quality materials and cutting-edge software. But in total there are 600 e-cig factories in Shenzhen. If a few dozen are making top quality brand name products, well then what are the other factories up to? Most of them are making cloned, fake e-cigarettes.


These same factories also use low-quality materials to manufacture generic vapor products. It creates a conundrum. First, the brand name products have developed their name for a reason. They make good stuff. So you want to stick with proven brands. Second, those proven brands may be faked by counterfeit e-cig factories in China. Caveat emptor, indeed.

What Do Fake E-Cigs Look Like?

The fake e-cigs look just like the real thing. Like any counterfeiter, they rely on matching appearance and don’t have a lot of regard for anything else. They are typically not concerned about quality or safety. Why would they be? They are faking someone else’s product right down to packaging and serial numbers. There is nothing on a fake e-cigarette that connects back to the counterfeit factory. They have little to no fear of accountability.

Please note that we mentioned something very important here. The packaging will be identical to the real thing. Sometimes the coloring may be a shade off but generally, the counterfeiters are very good at making the packaging an exact match. So you cannot judge whether or not an e-cig is a fake or a clone based on the packaging.

You also need to note that the makers of fake e-cigs are also known to use fake authenticity codes.

  • Fake e-cigs look like the real thing
  • The packaging is the same
  • Authenticity codes may be fake

Electronic Cigarette Authenticity Codes

All of the leading manufacturers are very much aware that their products are being counterfeited. To fight back, they have attached a unique code to every product they sell. That includes e-cigs, mods, tanks, and coils. Yes, even coils are cloned. In fact, fake coils are just as common as fake e-cigs if not even more so.

In most cases, you will scratch an area on the packaging to reveal the authenticity code. Then you go to the manufacturer’s website and enter the authenticity code to confirm that your product is genuine. If you have a fake e-cig one of two things will happen when you check the authenticity code.

The first sign that you have a fake will be if your authenticity code comes back as invalid. The second that you have a fake will be if your authenticity code check comes back indicating that your code has been checked multiple times. That should not happen. If your code has been checked previously that means that a counterfeiter has used a known code. We have heard of cases of a single authenticity code being checked thousands of times.

What Happens If I Find Out I have A Clone E-cig?

Not much. Here is a common scenario. You buy a name brand imported vapor product. You scratch and check the authenticity code. Then you find out you have a fake e-cig. So you contact the real manufacturer. There’s nothing they can do because it is not their product. Then you go back to where you bought it.

If you bought it from an online seller they might have no idea that they are selling clones. You should inform them but chances are they have the “all sales final” policy listed somewhere. If they do know, they might even tell you that clones are just as good as the real thing. Clones are not as good as the real thing. In any case, the chance of getting a refund is slim.

If you are mad and want some justice against the counterfeiters themselves, that’s not going to happen. The best case scenario is you have an honorable seller who will give you a refund. You will still likely be on the hook for shipping. Not to mention the time wasted communicating with the seller, going to the post office and it is lost money and time you will never get back.

How Do Fake E-Cigs Get Into The Market?

Fake e-cigs are so prevalent in the market for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is money. The fakes are sold cheaply and that is a serious temptation to sellers. By buying fakes they can sell what appears to be name brand products for cheap. They can undercut the market. Some sellers may not know they are selling fakes because the counterfeiters aggressively market their junky products via any means available.

The second reason why fakes are so common is the sheer volume. There are so many of them. Think of the hundreds of factories that might be churning out clone e-cigs right now. It boils down to an ample supply of cheap products.

How Do Consumers Avoid Cheap E-Cigs?

The first clue to avoid cheap e-cigs is the price. If the price seems low, if the deal or discount is crazy good, then your spidey senses should be tingling. Not that there are no good deals to be had out there but it is a sign that something might be up.

Look for authenticated, reliable vendors. For example, a reputable vendor may have a certificate of authenticity verifying that they are a certified dealer of genuine vapor products. Ask a seller if they are a verified dealer. Ask them directly if they sell authentic products. Trust but verify. It seems like a hassle but doing a little homework ahead of time can help prevent you from being ripped off.

If you are buying from an online seller, for example on an auction site or classified listing site, ask if they guarantee their products are genuine. If a seller does not fully back their product then move on.

  • If the price seems too good to be true, be suspicious
  • Look for reputable, authenticated vendors
  • Ask questions, seek assurances and guarantees
  • If the seller does not stand by the product then don’t buy from them

Proven American Vape Brands

One way you can avoid this entire minefield altogether is to buy your vapor products from proven American vape brands like Mig Vapor. When you buy from Mig Vapor, you are buying directly from the company that makes your product and stands behind what they sell. On top of that, you have access to a US-based customer service team to answer your questions and address your concerns.

In the vaping community, sometimes the imported products get most of the attention. And that is a shame because right here in the USA Mig vapor is designing some of the best electronic cigarettes and vaporizer products in the business built by the best manufacturers in the world. Mig Vapor backs products with a 90-day replacement warranty.

Mig Vapor backs up what they sell. You don’t have to worry at all about being ripped off by fake e-cigs. You win on quality and you win on certainty. That is a true win-win scenario.

When you buy from Mig Vapor, you develop a direct relationship with the company that makes and stands behind its vapor products. You get a massive selection of hardware and premium quality USA made vape juice. And you will never have to worry about setting foot into the shady underworld of cheap, imported low-quality clones.

Reasons To Buy From American Companies Like Mig Vapor

  1. Certainty that you are getting authentic, top quality products
  2. Products built by the world’s best manufacturers
  3. Backed by warranty
  4. Buy direct from the company that makes your vape device
  5. US-based customer service
  6. Eliminates the risk of fake e-cigs

Last Word On Counterfeit, Clone E-cigs

Unfortunately, there is no pretty picture to paint when it comes to fake import electronic cigarettes. Smok, KayFun, Aspire, eLeaf, and all of the noteworthy imports are copied and cloned. The counterfeits are everywhere. Not only are they poor quality but in many cases, fake e-cigs can actually be dangerous. Many do not have functional safety features. The fakes that have internal batteries may even have dysfunctional batteries prone to thermal runaway and can literally burn you.

Consumers need to be aware of the prevalence and risks of counterfeit vapor products. Do some background work on any seller you are considering buying from. Get a guarantee that they are selling an authentic product. Take steps to ensure that you are not ripped off by a fake.

Finally, you can avoid the whole mess by buying directly from a US e-cig brand like Mig Vapor. Make your life simpler. Buy direct from Mig Vapor and you don’t have to worry about authenticity codes, where the e-cig comes from, who made it or any of that. You have the assurance of knowing exactly who you are buying from and knowing that Mig Vapor stands behind each and every product. That way, you don’t have to worry about fake e-cigs, you can focus on simply enjoying vaping.





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