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Vape Expo attendees should expect ‘new rules’ in 2018, at least in California

Posted by Matt Rowland on

As the dawn of a new year approaches, vaping enthusiasts are planning ahead for the 2018 Electronic Cigarette Convention, sometimes called the EEC Expo.  The event will take place in the Ontario Convention Center in California.

This year, however, there are going to be some new rules, and event officials will even be casing the floors looking for rule-breakers.  Those venders or attendees found to be in violation will be immediately shown the door.

So, what are these new rules?  And why is this such a major issue this year?  Well, according to the official website, event coordinators are cracking down on “unprofessional conduct” perhaps in an attempt to boost the public image of vaping in the liberal-minded, western-most state.

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After all, California cities like San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, and Contra Costa County are actively trying to pass local legislation that would ban the sales of all flavored e-liquids.  The vaping industry, at least in California, is in need of a major public perception make-over, and many vapers might agree that it’s about time.  Others might take offense the hard-fisted restrictions, but most of the new rules seem to be written with basic business practices in mind.

Overview of the ECC Expo new policies

EEC 2018 takes place February 9-11 at 2000 E Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA 91764.  Event promoters are stating that Friday will be restricted to Business-to-Business dealings, and the remainder of the weekend will be open for general attendance.  This is usually when the drama begins. 

For example, even though the 2015 Vape New Jersey Expo was billed as a “private event,” promoters began receiving hundreds of complaints from the local community once everything got underway.  Complaints of excessive plumes of “smoke” coming from the building and neighboring parking areas grew so loud that California State Senator Joseph Vitale allegedly threatened to close down the event for violating the NJ Clean Indoor Air Act. 

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Other complaints developed involving the promotional material supplied by attending vendors that the locals deemed unsuitable for small children.  Why “small children” would be attending a vaping expo is another issue entirely, but these types of public relations misfires are becoming increasingly more commonplace in the world of vape conventions.  Officials from the EEC Expo 2018 apparently want to put the kibosh on these sorts of bad behaviors before the very first vendor even agrees to sign up for attendance.

  •  Only pre-approved imagery will be allowed during the show.
This rule relates to any type of pictorial on the convention floor, including banners, brochures, signage, backdrops, inflatables, and even the branding imagery displayed on the tiny bottles of e-liquid for sale.  Every image of any kind must be pre-approved.
  • No bikini models pushing vape juice allowed.
The pre-approved imagery rule even applies to employee uniforms of those working the expo.  So, the chances of receiving a shotgun vape hit from a scantily clad bikini model are not very likely.
  • Watch out for violations of “Intellectual Property.”
Expo officials will be constantly walking the floor looking for possible issues of copyright infringement based on a “minimum percentage.”
  • No counterfeit products.
This rule is related to knock-offs, which has been a major problem in many expos of the past, regardless of location.  Event coordinators usually look the other way, but this year they will be policing the floor regularly for “any products that ECC deems to be deceptively or illegally marketed.”
  • Imagery that appeals to minors is a no-no.
Vendors may use cartoon imagery, but only if it is original.  No imagery of any kind that is viewed to be intentionally targeting minors will be allowed.  So, vendors with displays featuring Pokémon e-juice or the notorious “My first (baby) vape” advertisement will be shown the door immediately.  No questions asked.

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The complete list of rules entitled “ECC Industry Impact Imagery Review Policy” is located on the EEC Expo website.  The information is brief and to-the-point, but the promoters allow general questions via the EEC contact page.  They also seem to be extremely determined about the enforcement of their new rules. The very last line of the policy states the following.

 “Any exhibitor found in violation during an ECC Events show will be asked to remove the offending imagery and will be immediately shut down and removed (without refund) if immediate action is not taken (immediate removal of imagery is required).” 

There doesn’t appear to be any judge, jury, or process for appeal against an allegation of violation by expo officials.  If vendors are found in violation – for whatever reason – they should expect to be immediately tossed out the door in full view of everyone and without receiving their money back.  Oddly, no mentions of excessive cloud production appear in the new policies, which is what got the New Jersey Expo into so much hot water.  Here’s hoping that have that issue already resolved.

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