What we know and don’t know about Puff Bar right now
Much remains unclear about the popular disposable e-cigarette that was “quickly becoming the new JUUL,” including whether the devices are still for sale in the U.S. and who owns and operates the company.
Puff Bar, which mimics the massively popular JUUL, comes in many youth-appealing flavors like O.M.G. (Orange, Mango, Guava), but is not subject to a partial ban on flavored e-cigarettes because it is a disposable device. The loophole in the policy – which took effect in January and only restricts flavors for closed-system e-liquid cartridges, like JUUL and its pods – paved the way for a surge in the device’s popularity. Data from the first-of-its-kind youth quit-vaping program This is Quitting, a free and anonymous text message-based program from Truth Initiative, revealed that by March 2020, the majority of young people enrolled in This Is Quitting no longer reported using JUUL. Many reported using disposable devices and Puff Bar was the most popular disposable brand.
As Puff Bar’s popularity has grown, so have many questions and concerns about the product and the company behind it.
The mystery behind Puff Bar
Why does it say Kado on my Puff Bar
Recent news reports have described a total lack of transparency over who makes and distributes Puff Bar.
Investigative news outlet Fair Warning took a deep dive into trying to find out more about the company. In an interview with two people identified as the CEO and CFO in a document filed with California Secretary of State, both claimed no ownership and said they were only running the Puff Bar website. Neither would disclose who hired them. The investigation also reported that Puff Bar “appears to be entangled with many other companies in the U.S. and China.” One of those companies is Cool Clouds Distribution, Inc., which Bloomberg reported in February operated out of an unmarked building in Los Angeles’ Skid Row.
Are Puff Bars still for sale?
Where can you buy Puff Bars
Puff Bar should never have been sold because it is illegal for any tobacco product that wasn’t on the market before August 2016 to begin sales. Still, Puff Bar appeared on the market in 2019 and raked in profits before the Food and Drug Administration took enforcement action.
In late July the FDA sent a letter ordering Puff Bar to remove all flavored e-cigarettes and youth-appealing flavors from the market. Although the Puff Bar website states it has now ceased all online sales and distribution in the U.S., Puff Bar products can still be found on ecommerce sites like Eliquidstop (owned by the same two people identified as Puff Bar CEO and CFO), according to tobacco industry trade publication Tobacco Reporter.
Puff Bar knock-offs take off
What are Ezzy Oval, Hyppe Bar, Pop Bar, Hyde bar vapes
An array of copycat and knock-off Puff Bar products have emerged on the market, confusing users. In fact, Puff Bar even began printing codes on their device packaging so that users could authenticate the products through the official Puff Bar website.
Disposable products that copy the same sleek style and flavors include Ezzy Oval, Hyppe Bar, and Kado Puff Bar. All devices are packaged in the same sleek and colorful packaging as Puff Bar and look nearly identical.
Comprehensive regulation needed now
The confusion around Puff Bar and proliferation of copycat products underscores the urgent need for comprehensive e-cigarette regulation.
Without a stronger, enforceable federal policy restricting all flavored e-cigarette products, young users can continue switching from one flavored, nicotine-containing product to another. With a pandemic impacting the lungs occurring at a time of record-high youth vaping in the United States, comprehensive action is more urgent than ever.