RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – RELX International, a responsible multinational electronic cigarettes company, successfully concluded an in-depth training session with Saudi Customs Authority and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property officials on 25 May. The training aimed to complement Saudi officials’ efforts in fighting the illicit trade of contraband and counterfeit e-cigarettes (e-cigs) in the Kingdom, and demonstrated the company’s commitment to the RELX Pledge, which includes the successful Golden Shield Program.
The training covered several key aspects: discerning legal products from illegal ones; raising awareness and educating people about the consequences of the illegal trade of e-cigs; sharing research and intelligence on identifying illegal trading activities; collaborating with government officials to track and confiscate counterfeit products, and developing and implementing product authentication, tracking and tracing technologies. To facilitate the effectiveness of the training, RELX International collaborated with leading intellectual property (IP) firm SABA IP.
As part of RELX’s ongoing commitment to protecting the rights of legal e-cigarette users, and fighting the illicit trade of e-cigs under the Golden Shield Program, additional training sessions are planned in countries across the Middle East including the UAE, Egypt and Jordan.
“As a responsible company, RELX frequently works with local authorities, investigation firms and e-commerce platforms to identify and remove contraband and counterfeit e-cigarette products from the market as part of the RELX Pledge. We are pleased to have been able to complete an in-depth training session with relevant Saudi authorities and applaud their tireless commitment to ensuring consumers in Saudi Arabia have access to authentic and reliable e-cigarette products at fair prices,” said Robert Naouss, External Affairs Director – MENA & Europe at RELX International.
RELX established the Golden Shield Program in August 2019 to help prevent the production and sale of the illicit goods. Since its establishment, the initiative has had a significant impact, removing over 550,000 fake products from the market, as well as over 77,000 websites.
The Golden Shield Program in-conjunction with the Guardian Program and Green Shoots, the three of which falling under the RELX Pledge initiative, covers areas from product development to sales and preventing and discouraging the use of e-cigarette products by minors, through joint efforts with retailers to step up on-site identification. The Golden Shield Program also seeks to empower consumers with the knowledge to verify authentic products via three different methods: by authentication code on the packaging of genuine projects; a laser label that when viewed from different angles will display the letters ‘L’ and ‘X’, and via QR code on the pods.
Contraband and counterfeit e-cigs are produced in unregulated facilities and pose a serious health risk to legal age consumers and minors . Counterfeit e-cigs have been scientifically proven to be dangerous for several reasons: using inferior e-liquid formula; the e-liquid contains harmful substances; the capsules frequently leak; the capsules are manufactured without a quality certificate, and there’s significant misinformation about the nicotine dosage/levels in the capsules.
“We want to improve authorities’ ability to identify counterfeit and/or smuggled products through the use of advanced scientifically-proven technologies, and by presenting successful experiences that have, in the past, contributed to combating the illegal tobacco trade. This session is one in a series of training workshops with customs and law enforcement agencies that we have planned throughout the Middle East, and we look forward to continuing our efforts in line with the RELX Pledge,” concluded Naouss.