Electronic Cigarette丨Getty Images

E-Cigarette Industry Supervision Status in China

Electronic Cigarette丨Getty Images

In China, on November 1, 2019, the State Administration of Market Supervision and Administration and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration jointly issued the “Notice on Further Protecting Minors from Electronic Cigarettes,” saying they would urge e-cigarette manufacturers, sales companies or individuals Shut down e-cigarette Internet sales websites, etc .; urge e-commerce platforms to close e-cigarette stores and remove e-cigarette products; urge e-cigarette production and sales enterprises or individuals to withdraw e-cigarette Internet advertising.

How does China prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors?

① Online: Prohibit the promotion and sale of all electronic cigarette products on the Internet.

② Offline: It is forbidden to open e-cigarette-related flagship stores/experience stores/agent stores and other sales stores near the primary and middle school campuses; ordinary offline sales stores should strictly review the age of consumer customers (whether over 18 years old), including but not limited to identity Technologies such as identification, face recognition, AI big data monitoring, etc.

What are the sales channels of Chinese e-cigarettes after the online channels are completely banned?

In China, it is mainly physical sales places such as offline experience stores/specialty stores/convenience stores (non-campus surroundings); the other is the overseas market where e-cigarette sales are not explicitly prohibited.

South China Morning Post丨Photo by Edward Wong
South China Morning Post丨Photo by Edward Wong

What is the trend forecast of China’s e-cigarette supervision?

Since China’s national level has not yet included e-cigarettes into the regulatory scope of existing tobacco products, the production and circulation of e-cigarettes are still basically in a regulatory blank. “Announcement 1” to a certain extent made up for the gaps in the supervision of online sales and advertising of e-cigarettes, but its implementation effect is still unknown.

The risks brought by the regulatory gap are not only reflected in the health risks brought by the use of e-cigarettes themselves, but also in the product quality risks brought about by the uneven electronic cigarette market.

As the largest producer and exporter of e-cigarettes, China should pay close attention to the legislation of e-cigarettes, promulgate relevant laws and regulations as soon as possible to carry out comprehensive and effective supervision of e-cigarettes or implement special legislation on e-cigarettes to eliminate the current uncontrollable e-cigarette regulation status.

It can be expected that the national standard for e-cigarettes will be introduced soon, and e-cigarettes will be included in the strict regulatory system for tobacco products.

Manufacturers and sellers in the e-cigarette market should pay close attention to the regulatory status of the e-cigarette industry and take timely and effective countermeasures to avoid double risks in commercial and legal compliance.

How can e-cigarette brands expand sales channels in the current situation?

At present, most corporate strategies focus on expanding sales channels. There are also three types of terminal products in the e-cigarette market: disposable cigarettes, cigarette changers, and cigarettes with cigarette holders, in order to meet the different needs of terminal channels such as bars, KTVs, shops, and Internet cafes.

At present, e-cigarettes are receiving the attention of brands. When people don’t know what e-cigarettes are, companies with more channels can get more users.

The previous channels refer to offline stores, but the current channels such as magazines, applets, city tours, etc. can all do a good job in brand building and channel cooperation.

Which technical directions of the electronic cigarette industry can apply for patents?

There are three types of patents: invention, utility model, and design. The three patents protect different technical directions. The invention protects technical ideas and schemes, as well as the content of ingredients, formulas, proportions, etc .; the utility model protects the product’s mechanism and the connection relationship of the components; Therefore, for enterprises in the electronic cigarette industry, the layout of patents can also be developed from the following:

  1. The working principle of the atomizing device and the formula of the smoke oil can apply for invention patents;
  2. The connection structure of the internal components of the electronic cigarette can apply for a utility model patent;
  3. The unique shape and pattern of the smoking set can apply for appearance patent.

What government subsidy policies can companies in the e-cigarette industry chain enjoy?

At present, there is no specific funding policy for the e-cigarette industry, and enterprises may consider some inclusive qualification projects. If the company has continuous research and development, purchase of fixed assets such as production equipment, participation in exhibitions, and loans, it has the opportunity to apply for government funding in the corresponding direction.

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Alina Xue
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