12 January 2023, Budapest - The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) imposed the maximum level of fine, almost HUF 70 million on a Slovakian webstore, for illegally advertising e-cigarettes to Hungarian consumers. The GVH also points out that the distribution of these products on the internet, and their possession, i.e., their purchase via online is unlawful.
Last summer the GVH has started parallel investigation into two Slovakian undertakings as they sold e-cigarettes and Elf Bar products, that are popular among children and therefore particularly harmful, through their Hungarian websites.
The first investigation concluded that the undertaking Yzer s.r.o. "v likvidácii" (formerly known as Vaper s.r.o.) gave the false impression on their websites that the products can be legally distributed. In Hungary the distance selling of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and electronic devices imitating smoking, as well as the sale of flavoured versions of such devices by any means is prohibited.
The Hungarian Competition Authority considered as an aggravating circumstance that the unfair commercial practice targeted vulnerable target groups, i.e., young people and minors, and the undertaking infringed clear sectoral rules, moreover the products could cause serious health risk. The Competition Council of the GVH imposed a fine of HUF 68,1 million, the statutory maximum for the infringement based on the undertaking’s annual turnover. In addition, the GVH has forbidden the undertaking to continue its conduct.
It is important that consumers especially children and young people and their parents are aware of the fact that the distribution of the above-mentioned products over the internet – moreover their possession, i.e., purchasing them online- is unlawful. The GVH therefore strongly warns consumers not to fall for the false impression given by websites or advertisements. Moreover, not to order such products neither from Hungary nor from abroad particularly, considering their serious health risk.
Case registration numbers: VJ/23/2022
GVH Public Service and International Section
Bálint Horváth, Head of Communication +36 20 238 6939
Katalin Gondolovics, Press Spokesperson +36 30 603 1170