Vapes are poisonous! China vape regulation national standard is being reviewed to be approved

The brutal growth of electronic cigarettes may soon be over. Reporters have learned that the compulsory national standards for electronic cigarettes have been reviewed and are currently in the state of approval. According to the project schedule, it should be released in the year.

“Cigarette flavor, harmless to body”… As a new nicotine delivery system, electronic cigarettes are now selling well as a fashion product, and the market of electronic cigarettes is also growing rapidly.

While more and more people are aware of the harm of real cigarettes to their health, few people realize that electronic cigarettes are actually recognized by many authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) as products with almost equal harm to traditional cigarettes. With the lack of relevant national standards and accessibility of e-commerce sales, the phenomenon of the chaotic industry is inevitable.

The brutal growth of electronic cigarettes may soon be over. The first financial reporter learned that the compulsory national standards for electronic cigarettes have been examined and approved. According to the project schedule, they should be released in the year.

National public service platform for standards information

According to the official website of the National Standardization Management Committee, the national standard regulation plan for electronic cigarettes issued in October 2017 has to go through several stages: online publicity, drafting, consultation, review, approval and release. At present, the status of the project has entered the stage of “approval in progress”, and will be approved by the National Standards Committee within 24 months and be approved in 12 months. The project will be approved and released, and the formal end time of the project is about 4 months. At that time, the production and circulation of electronic cigarettes in China will be carried out according to the requirements of national standards.

Among them, the National Standard Plan “Electronic Cigarettes”, “Gas Chromatography for the Determination of Nicotine, Propylene Glycol and Glycerol in Electronic Tobacco Solution” was reported and implemented by TC144 (National Technical Committee for Tobacco Standardization). The department in charge is the National Tobacco Monopoly Bureau.

The time limit for issuing the national standard for electronic cigarettes will soon come, and the timetable for issuing the national standard for electronic cigarettes has not yet been determined. In response to the First Financial Interview, the National Standardization Management Committee said that in 2017, the National Tobacco Monopoly Bureau submitted an application to the National Standardization Management Committee for the establishment of compulsory national standards for e-cigarettes in order to ensure product quality and safety and protect consumers’interests. On September 28, 2017, the National Standardization Management Committee issued a compulsory national standard for e-cigarettes plan. At present, the relevant technical indicators and contents of the compulsory national standards for electronic cigarettes are still under study, and the time for approval and publication is uncertain.

vape china

“Electronic cigarettes are not safe. Studies show that toxic substances and pollutants have been found in the aerosols of electronic cigarettes. At present, most electronic cigarettes on the market contain nicotine, and exposure to nicotine itself can cause health risks. The second-hand vapor of electronic cigarettes is also unsafe. Some studies show that compared with cigarettes, electronic cigarettes have added toxic substances such as glyoxal, and some metals and other substances are even more concentrated than the smoke produced by traditional cigarettes. Sun Jiani, technical officer of the World Health Organization’s tobacco-free operations in China, told First Financial Journalist.

Vape is poisonous

In fact, the harm of electronic cigarettes has been warned by relevant agencies.

Previously, WHO reports showed that the second-hand aerosol (the second-hand vapor of vapes) produced by the heating solution of vapes is a new source of air pollution. These include particulate matter (including fine and ultrafine particles), 1,2-propanediol, some volatile organic compounds, some heavy metals and nicotine. It’s not just “water vapor” as many marketing campaigns do.

Compared with smokeless fresh air, second-hand aerosols can cause PM1.0 values to be 14-40 times higher and PM2.5 values to be 6-86 times higher. Nicotine content is 10 to 115 times higher. The content of acetaldehyde is 2-8 times higher and the content of formaldehyde is 20%. Some of the metals produced, such as nickel and chromium, are even higher than the second-hand smoke produced by traditional cigarettes.

In August 2018, the Key Laboratory of Tobacco Industry Chemistry, Zhengzhou Institute of Tobacco Research, China National Tobacco Corporation, released the first research report on chemical risk of electronic cigarettes in China. The report said that nicotine (nicotine) content of some vapes was inaccurately labeled; aldehydes and ketones (formaldehyde, glyoxal, acrolein liquid and aerosol) it contained volatile compounds (propylene glycol, etc.). Nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, metal elements and so on are unique to tobacco.

“Some studies have detected formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other low molecular aldehydes in aerosols. The detection rates are 87.5%, 97.9% and 8.3% respectively. The highest contents are 1.2 mg/L, 1.69 mg/L and 9.45 mg/L, respectively. Compared with traditional cigarettes, the content of acetaldehyde is 2-8 times higher and the content of formaldehyde is 20% higher. Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde were only detected in the vapes. Formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein were detected in the aerosol. The release of carbonyl compounds in the aerosol was basically higher than their content in the vape juice. Wu Yiqun, a tobacco control expert, told First Finance and Economics.

It is well known that aldehydes and ketones, low molecular aldehydes, are harmful substances which have strong stimulating effects on the respiratory system, especially formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, acrolein, O-methyl benzaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Among them, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde are classified as carcinogens of Class 1 and Class 2B by IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer).

“Electronic cigarettes are unsafe and pose health risks. Whether the e liquid/pod component of electronic cigarette or the tiny aerosol particles inhaled by electronic cigarette after heating, containing nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerol, carcinogens and heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, will bring potential safety hazards to users and non-smokers. Wu Yiqun said.

However, this insecurity has been hidden by commercial organizations. Many electronic cigarette products have been sold very well on the Internet. On the major domestic e-commerce platforms, there are more than 10,000 e-cigarette sold monthly by sales businessmen everywhere.

According to the data of China Business Industry Research Institute, China’s e-cigarette production in 2016 is 1.210 billion, and it is expected to reach an astonishing 2.229 billion in 2018. 90% of the world’s e-cigarettes are produced in China.

The influence of electronic cigarette on adolescents should not be neglected

Why is this product so popular, especially among teenagers, which has not yet issued a national standard?

Because of the harmless and non-toxic advertisements of electronic cigarettes, as well as the fashionable and cool shapes and various attractive fragrances, many teenagers will try electronic cigarettes on their own initiative. It is worrying that electronic cigarettes may eventually make non-smoking young people become consumers of traditional cigarettes. A number of international cohort studies have consistently confirmed the strong correlation between the use of electronic cigarettes by adolescents and young adults and the subsequent use of cigarettes. Wu Yiqun said.

On May 30, the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of the China Adult Tobacco Survey 2018. The survey found that young people were the main users of e-cigarettes, and the use rate of e-cigarettes was 1.5% in the 15-24 age group. The main access to electronic cigarettes is the Internet (45.4%). It is noteworthy that compared with 2015, the proportion of people who have heard of electronic cigarettes, used electronic cigarettes, and now use electronic cigarettes has increased.

So far, there is no conclusive evidence that e-cigarettes can help quit smoking. E-cigarettes are just a substitute for cigarettes. In fact, studies have found that it has no smoking cessation effect, not only that, but also brings more toxic substances than tobacco. Excessive intake of nicotine in e-cigarettes poses a greater health risk.

“Teenagers who have never smoked electronic cigarettes are at least twice as likely to start smoking. WHO proposes to strengthen the regulation of electronic cigarettes to prevent minors from contacting electronic cigarettes, including restrictions on promotion and sponsorship of electronic cigarettes advertising, marketing channels, and the addition of various fragrances. At present, there is no research to prove that e-smoking can help to quit smoking successfully. If you want to quit smoking, it is recommended to use proven effective drug treatment. Sun Jiani said so to First Finance and Economics.

On August 30, 2018, the State Administration of Market Supervision and Administration and the State Tobacco Monopoly Bureau issued the Notice on Prohibiting the Sale of Electronic Cigarettes to Minors, pointing out that there is no official national standard for electronic cigarettes in China at present. The quality of various electronic cigarettes sold on the market is uneven, and some products may have potential quality and safety hazards. In particular, the circular requires that all market participants should not sell electronic cigarettes to minors, and the society should protect minors from electronic cigarettes.

Toxic substances will be limited in the national standard

According to Sun Jiani, “At present, there are 32 countries in the world that ban electronic cigarettes completely, and 69 countries control them. Six countries prohibit sales, production and imports and regulate their use. China’s Hangzhou has introduced legislation to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in smoking-free places, and some cities are planning to introduce relevant legislation, such as Hong Kong’s plan to ban electronic cigarettes in an all-round way, and Shenzhen’s plan to amend laws to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in smoking-free places.”

Is Juul legal in Hong Kong

PS: The author visited Hong Kong this week and found very few vape shops there. However, he found some advertisement advocating the regulation of vapes instead of banning it. Here is the site of the advertisement in Hong Kong street. Meanwhile, Hong Kong smokers are found everywhere while cigarettes are sold at $70 per pack for old smoker’s one day use. But with that money, it’s able to buy 3 pods and vape for a whole week.  According to my observation, Hong Kong is a great untapped market for vape to grow explosively.


Local legislation can not replace national standards and industry norms. It will be the general trend to formulate national standards for electronic cigarettes as soon as possible and to withdraw irregular products from the market as soon as possible. In July 2018, the national standard of electronic cigarette was voted, and the result showed that the pass rate was 78.18%.

According to the first financial and economic Reply of the National Standardization Administration Committee, the relevant administrative departments under the State Council are responsible for proposing, organizing drafting, soliciting opinions and technical examination of compulsory national standards according to their responsibilities. The administrative department for standardization under the State Council is responsible for the establishment, numbering and external notification of compulsory national standards.

The main drafting units of this national standard are Shanghai New Tobacco Products Research Institute, Zhengzhou Tobacco Research Institute of China Tobacco Corporation, Yunnan Tobacco Research Institute, China Tobacco Standardization Research Center, National Tobacco Quality Supervision and Inspection Center, Hunan China Tobacco Industry Co., Ltd, and Shanghai Tobacco Group Co., Ltd.

In view of the toxic substances of electronic cigarettes, technical assessment and limit requirements for various components of electronic cigarettes are being carried out in the electronic cigarette standards being planned. “If electronic cigarettes are not toxic, it is impossible to limit these elements.” Wu Yiqun said.

The technical scope and content of the standard are mainly the determination of nicotine, propylene glycol and glycerol in electronic cigarette liquor. The pretreatment methods of nicotine, propylene glycol and glycerol in electronic cigarette liquor were studied. The effects of different extraction solvents, different oscillation time and different sample weights on the determination of nicotine, propylene glycol and glycerol in electronic cigarette liquor were investigated.

In addition, it also includes optimizing the analytical conditions of gas chromatography instrument for the determination of nicotine, propylene glycol and glycerol in vapes, optimizing the internal standard, and investigating the influence of different capillary column on the separation of target compounds, internal standard and interfering substances. The internal validation of the analytical method, the linear range and correlation coefficient of the best standard curve of the analytical method, the recovery, detection limit, quantitative limit and precision of the analytical method, etc.

“The standard of electronic cigarette will limit the purity of nicotine to no less than 99%, and the concentration of nicotine in electronic cigarette liquid should not be higher than 20mg/mL. Tobacco should not be mildewed or corrupted. There are 119 kinds of additives allowed to be used. The total amount of 17 phthalate esters and 4 tobacco-specific nitrosamines were all limited, but this standard has not yet been issued, and various technical indicators are still under study. A source told First Financial.

Meanwhile, this standard has mandatory provisions, involving international trade, and according to WTO agreements, it needs to notify the WTO. The source said.


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