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Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
10/21/2020

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IPR Center, National Crime Prevention Council launch nationwide campaign to raise awareness on illicit vapor products

WASHINGTON – The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) and National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) today announced a national campaign to work with law enforcement and community leaders to promote public health and safety by raising awareness and education on illicit vapor products. These products present additional health and safety risks for adult consumers and undermine underage-prevention measures.

The awareness campaign will educate the public on the consequences of counterfeit and other black-market vapor products and provide tools and resources to report illegal sales to law enforcement. The campaign will include social media, digital resources, and a toolkit to help inform adult consumers about the additional risks associated with suspect vapor products.

Illicit vapor products have negative public health consequences and are invading local communities. These black-market products are available online without age verification, at retail outlets that do not check IDs, and through non-traditional retail channels like social-sourcing. The availability of these illicit products undermines important underage-prevention measures adopted in the past year by Congress and the Administration because they make these products easier for minors to access.

The IPR Center brings together domestic and international law enforcement agencies to combat the illegal importation and distribution of counterfeit, substandard and tainted goods and dismantle criminal organizations engaged in illicit trade crimes. In keeping with its history of fighting Intellectual Property Theft, NCPC is joining the effort to protect the public from counterfeits and to rein in a burgeoning black market.

"As a law enforcement officer and parent of three teenagers, I am alarmed at both the volume of youth e-cigarette usage and the amount of illicit, black-market vapor and counterfeit tobacco products entering the United States," said IPR Center Director Steve Francis. "The IPR Center is committed to working with its federal and industry partners to identify, interdict and investigate individuals, companies and criminal organizations engaging in the illegal importation of products that threaten the health and safety of the American public."

"NCPC has had a strong partnership with the IPR Center for almost a decade to educate the public about the importance of intellectual property to the U.S. economy and to encourage robust enforcement against international organized crime. Counterfeit ingestible products of unknown quality and origin can pose a public health threat. That is why we are especially proud to announce this public-private partnership during Crime Prevention Month. Together, we can combat the dangers of illicit vapor products through awareness and education," said NCPC President and CEO, Ann M. Harkins.

In an effort to restrict underage access to any vapor product – whether authentic or fake – and to ensure a responsible marketplace for adult consumers, Juul Labs, Inc. is a critical supporter of the campaign. "We are very pleased to support this public-private partnership with IPRC and NCPC to raise awareness and education on the public-health consequences of illicit vapor products. Collaboration across stakeholders – particularly the public and private sectors – is imperative to address this emerging illicit market as part of our continuing efforts to address underage access.," said Joe Murillo, Chief Regulatory Officer, Juul Labs, Inc.

To learn more about this important joint effort to protect adult consumers from the risks of illicit vapor products, click here. Remember to keep all vapor products – authentic ones and fakes – out of the reach of those under 18.

About National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, working collaboratively with its public and private sector partners, stands at the forefront of the United States government's response to combatting global intellectual property theft and enforcing intellectual properties rights violations. The IPR Center was established to combat global intellectual property theft – and, accordingly, has a significant role policing the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods on websites, social media, and the dark web.

About National Crime Prevention Council

The National Crime Prevention Council is the nonprofit leader in crime prevention. Since 1980, our symbol of safety, McGruff the Crime Dog®, has delivered easy-to-use crime prevention tips that protect what matters most – you, your family, and your community. NCPC's public service advertising campaigns have generated more than $2 billion in donated media. NCPC distributes crime prevention messages to its network of nearly 15,000 state and local law enforcement agencies, crime prevention associations, community groups, foundations, and corporate partners who reach millions in communities across the country. For more information on how NCPC can be a public safety expert for you or how to "Take A Bite Out of Crime®," visit www.ncpc.org.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/22/2020