November 1, BEIJING – The China Tobacco Monopoly Bureau issued an announcement: In order to avoid minors from contacting nicotine products, the e-cigarette brands and e-commerce platforms are urged to withdraw all online sales channels as soon as possible. This means that in China, the control of sales channels for e-cigarette products will be consistent with traditional tobacco products, that is, only the form of brick-and-mortar store sales will be retained.
The following is the original text of the announcement:
On August 28, 2018, the China State Administration of Markets and the State Tobacco Monopoly Bureau issued the Notice on Prohibiting the Sale of Electronic Cigarettes to Minors. Since the publication of the “Notice”, the awareness of the community to protect minors from e-cigarettes has generally improved, directly promoting and selling e-cigarettes to minors reduced. But at the same time, it is also found that minors still get to know, purchase and smoke electronic cigarettes through the Internet. Even some e-cigarette companies are blindly pursuing economic interests, and publicizing, promoting and selling e-cigarettes through the Internet poses a huge threat to the physical and mental health of minors. To further protect minors from e-cigarettes, the relevant matters are hereby notified as follows:
As a supplement to traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes have their own safety and health risks. They are less controllable in raw material selection, additive use, process design, quality control, etc. Some products have e-juice leaks and inferior batteries. Quality safety hazards such as the addition of unsafe ingredients. In accordance with the relevant provisions of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Minors, in order to strengthen the protection of the physical and mental health of minors, various market entities may not sell electronic cigarettes to minors. Any organization or individual should dissuade and stop the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
At the same time, in order to further strengthen the protection of minors’ physical and mental health and prevent minors from purchasing and smoking electronic cigarettes through the Internet, we urge electronic cigarette production and sales enterprises or individuals to close the electronic cigarette selling websites or app in time from the date of issuance of this notice. We also urge e-commerce platforms to close e-cigarette stores and remove e-cigarette products in time; e-cigarette production and sales companies or individuals shall withdraw e-cigarette advertisements posted via the Internet.
The tobacco monopoly administrative departments and market supervision and administration departments at all levels shall earnestly strengthen the promotion and implementation of this notice to protect minors from e-cigarettes. The tobacco monopoly administrative department shall increase the market supervision of e-cigarette products, strengthen the monitoring, dissuasion and suppression of the promotion and sale of e-cigarettes through the Internet, and investigate or notify relevant departments of all kinds of illegal activities discovered.Source: The China State Administration of Markets and the State Tobacco Monopoly Bureau
On the day of the announcement, almost all e-cigarette brands in China expressed support for the China Tobacco Monopoly Bureau and expressed their attitude and stance of “protecting minors from nicotine products”.
Previously, Vapebiz also reported that based on the user’s real-name authentication data, the current e-commerce platform in China has incorporated the age verification system to impose restrictions on the purchase of e-cigarette products for minors. Therefore, there is unconfirmed internal rumors that China’s e-commerce platform is in the process of further negotiations with the China Tobacco Monopoly Bureau.
And, 11th of November coincides with the annual promotion of China’s e-commerce platform (a.k.a Black Friday in China). All Chinese e-cigarette brands have already made ingenious online promotion programs. The announcements made at this point in time are inherently intriguing.
The current incident is being further fermented, and China’s e-cigarette industry is urgently facing the impact of this policy and regulation, Vapebiz will bring follow-up reports.