A rather frightening story is flooding social media today regarding a very bold move made by China banning e-cigs exports of any kind. Understandably, this would be devastating to the entire vaping and electronic cigarettes industries because a substantial portion of vaping products are made in China. But when we look closely at the “websites” posting these outlandish accusations, something just doesn’t add up.
Is it real? Or is it an April Fool’s Day Prank gone wrong?
First of all, the alleged Chinese expert often quoted in these articles goes by the name of Chief Long Dong of the Xinsha Tobacco Authority. The name alone should be a huge red flag (no pun intended), but the story is still going viral at lightning speed on Twitter, Facebook, and every other form of social media.
At first glance, the domain addresses of these “news” articles appear to be reputable. But by taking a closer look, it’s all a silly prank. One “source” on the subject is allegedly The New York Times, whose domain address in real life is NYTIMES.COM. The website spreading the April Fool’s prank has a domain name of TIMESNEWYORK.COM. Meanwhile the domain for the Los Angeles Business Journal is LABUSINESSJOURNAL.COM not the THELAJOURNAL.COM that is spreading the likely false story of China banning e-cigs exports.
Another point of contention is that the name of the alleged ban has an official name, too. It’s Operation Puff Not. This is a very American-sounding name for such potentially groundbreaking and radical legislation that was supposed to be the brain child of the Chinese government. Besides, the only thing that China bans is its people talking negatively about its government. Anything else, especially if it makes money, if fair game.
China banning e-cigs? Relax! It’s April Fool’s!
This has to be a prank, but a prank gone bad. The Internet is flooded with stories of vape shop owners imagining their worst possible fate. Some statistics estimate that as much as 90% of all vape products are manufactured in China. If the story were true about China banning e-cigs exports, then thousands of vape shop owners, distributors, and wholesalers would be out of business almost overnight, and not just us silly Americans. This would be a global catastrophe for the entire vaping industry, from Australia to Zimbabwe.
Even though this story is likely an April Fool’s Joke, hopefully it won’t gain anymore traction. Just like hundreds of countries around the world, the United States has bigger fish to fry. The most severe anti-vaping bill ever written may be landing to the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown any day now, and we need to stay focused. But, if this is an April Fool’s prank, it is one that was extremely well executed.
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