Vape manufacturer, supplier, and brand owner Supreme will put its own-label liquids and disposable devices in plain packaging, discontinue the use of bright colours, and make flavour names more “age appropriate”, it announced today.
The measures will be implemented across Supreme’s 88Vape range in the coming months in a bid to “mitigate the growing rise of underage vaping” it said.
The new packaging will be “plain and uniform” it said, with colour on boxes only used to differentiate products. Disposable devices will be switched to “either plain black, white or grey hardware with any bright colours discontinued at the earliest opportunity” Supreme said. Naming conventions for flavours will be “simplified”, for example ‘Peach Dream’ becoming ‘Peach’ and ‘Sweet Strawberry’ changed to ‘Strawberry’. This will “reduce the shelf appeal for underage vapers” Supreme said, and any flavours likely to be more appealing to underage vapers “will be removed entirely from the range”.
“As a business, we are fully committed to eradicating underage vaping so that the industry can get back to its core objective: to support adult smokers to find an affordable, sustainable, safer alternative to smoking,” said Sandy Chadha, CEO of Supreme.
“Whilst we believe flavoured vapes are a critical part of many ex-smokers ‘quitting journey’ as they seek to replace that tobacco taste for something more palatable, we are also desperate to ensure those flavours do not spark any interest in younger people,” he added.
A government consultation is currently underway on plans to “crack down” on vape use among children and young people. They include proposals to restrict child-friendly flavours and bright coloured packaging.
Chadha – via the company SC8, of which he is a director – in May made a £350,000 donation to the Conservative party.
Chadha said Supreme was “fully supportive of any further legislation in the sector and believe it is the right thing to do to begin to transition our business, by removing or changing anything from within our product set that could be deemed compromising”.
Supreme’s new measures only apply to its own-brand 88Vape lines, but not the other vape brands it sells through its imports business including ElfBar, Kik, Liberty Flights and Zillion. The company said it would encourage those brands to “follow suit”.
Earlier this year, ElfBar was found in breach of Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules after posts were found from sponsored influencers promoting its products on a social media platform favoured by gen Z. ElfBar said as a result of the complaint – which was initially raised by Imperial Tobacco – it would cease all TikTok marketing in the UK. This month, the brand was rapped by the ASA again after promotions for its disposables were found on social media platform Discord.
ElfBar yielded about half of Supreme’s reported revenue and gross profit growth in the first half of this year.
Supreme added it would also only trade with retailers with “robust” age verification, and “strongly recommend” that vaping products not be located close to confectionery in stores.
Supreme added it would also be working to reduce the environmental impact of disposable vapes and was rolling out vape bins across the entire estate of its largest customer B&M.
Shore Capital analyst Clive Black applauded Supreme’s “progressive thinking on vaping” and efforts to be a “demonstrably responsible player in the UK vaping market, so contributing to better outcomes for young people and the environment”.
Supreme has, Black added, “set out essential measures to sustain responsible trading in its category, steps that we believe are necessary and welcome, initiatives that we also believe show the company’s leadership and strong sense of responsibility”.