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Vietnam’s Record-Breaking E-Cigarette Seizure: A Smugglers’ Nightmare


In a world where smuggling can involve anything from exotic pets to precious art, Vietnam’s latest haul of contraband adds a new twist: e-cigarettes. On June 11, the Liberation Daily of Vietnam reported an unprecedented bust by the market supervision department, seizing a staggering 160,000 e-cigarette products and 20,000 kilograms of accessories. This is not just a puff of smoke; it’s the biggest e-cigarette smuggling case in the country’s history.

The Great E-Cigarette Bust of 2024

The seizure operation was a joint effort by the market supervision departments of Hongjiang Province and Haiphong City. Picture this: law enforcement officers, likely donned in their best “I mean business” attire, swooping down on a nondescript warehouse in Tianbian Township, Tianlu County. What they found would make even the most seasoned smuggler’s knees wobble – a cache of 163,410 e-cigarette products and nearly 10,000 kilograms of accessories and essential oils. It was a vapor wave of epic proportions.

To put it in perspective, that’s enough e-cigarettes to outfit every single one of the millions of tourists that visit Vietnam each year. The accessories alone could fill a small island. The lack of Vietnamese labels and the foreign language packaging were glaring neon signs pointing to the smuggling routes. This wasn’t just a local operation; it had international smoke trails.

Who’s Who in the Smuggling Zoo

Enter Chen Chunhe, the unfortunate owner of the warehouse. When confronted by law enforcement, Chen couldn’t produce a single invoice or document to legitimize the mountain of e-cigarette products. It was as if the stock had magically appeared, conjured by some mystical, nicotine-loving sorcerer. Chen’s silence and lack of paperwork spoke louder than any words could.

This bust didn’t just break records; it obliterated them. Before this, the largest seizure was in October 2023 when authorities confiscated 108,782 e-cigarette products in a warehouse in Fuli City, Hainan Province. That incident now looks like a warm-up act compared to this grand performance. The question on everyone’s lips: How deep does this smuggling rabbit hole go?

The Smuggling Landscape: A Clouded Picture

Vietnam’s battle against smuggling is akin to a high-stakes game of Whac-A-Mole, with authorities continuously striking down illicit operations only for new ones to pop up. This latest e-cigarette haul is part of a broader struggle. Smugglers are getting craftier, using increasingly sophisticated methods to evade detection. Hidden compartments, false documents, and bribery are just the tip of the iceberg.

But why e-cigarettes? The answer is a mix of demand, profit margins, and regulatory loopholes. E-cigarettes are seen as a trendy, safer alternative to traditional smoking, attracting a wide customer base. High taxes and strict regulations on legal imports make smuggling an attractive, albeit illegal, business. Smugglers are the dark entrepreneurs of the nicotine world, and Vietnam’s authorities are their relentless adversaries.

The Road Ahead: Enforcement and Regulation

With such a monumental seizure, one might wonder about the future of e-cigarette regulation in Vietnam. Will this be a turning point or just another headline? The government’s stance is clear: tighten the screws on smuggling operations. Increased surveillance, more rigorous inspections, and stiffer penalties are on the horizon. They aim to send a clear message: If you’re thinking about smuggling, think again.

For the market supervision departments, this victory is both a cause for celebration and a reminder of the ongoing battle. It’s a game of cat and mouse, where the stakes are high, and the outcomes can shape market dynamics. The cooperation between provinces like Hongjiang and cities like Haiphong showcases the united front against smuggling, a collaboration that is essential for future successes.


In a record-breaking bust reported on June 11 by Vietnam’s Liberation Daily, authorities seized 160,000 smuggled e-cigarette products and 20,000 kilograms of accessories in Hongjiang Province and Haiphong City. The operation, the largest e-cigarette smuggling case in Vietnam’s history, uncovered 163,410 e-cigarette products and nearly 10,000 kilograms of accessories and essential oils in a warehouse in Tianbian Township. The owner, Chen Chunhe, failed to provide documentation for the goods, all of which lacked Vietnamese labels and bore foreign languages, suggesting they entered Vietnam illegally. This case surpasses the previous record set in October 2023 and highlights the ongoing battle against sophisticated smuggling operations. Authorities are now focusing on stricter regulations and enforcement to combat this lucrative black market, as they continue their efforts to curb illegal activities. Stay tuned for more news on Vietnam’s fight against smuggling.


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