The domestic e-cigarette market is in a non-regulated state: no clear regulatory authorities, no special laws and regulations, no quality standards and access threshold. Over the years, experts and trade associations in the field of tobacco control have been calling for the promulgation of relevant laws and regulations, which may change this situation in the near future.
In October 2017, the National Standard Plan on Electronic Cigarette was launched. At present, the project has entered the final approval stage before its release. A staff member of the Tobacco Standardization Committee said that the standards had been reported to the National Standardization Management Committee, and as to when they were approved and released, it would be decided by the plan. According to the plan, it should be published in the near future according to the progress. A person who participated in the drafting of the standard disclosed that the standard has standardized electronic cigarettes, e-liquid, packaging, etc. According to the project cycle, the national standard of electronic cigarette will be released in October this year.
According to a recent report, China’s e-cigarette consumption reached 7.4 million in 2017 and has become the world’s largest producer and exporter of e-cigarette products (95% of the world’s share) and the world’s largest exporter of e-cigarettes (90% of the world’s share). Nowadays, the huge potential of China’s market has become the target of all kinds of electronic cigarette manufacturers at home and abroad. As of August this year, the domestic e-cigarette market financing has exceeded 1 billion yuan in 2019. The introduction of electronic cigarette standards, as well as the improvement of supervision, and the whole industry will face shuffling.
Time Weekly: China’s e-cigarette users reach 7.4 million and should be included in tobacco control as soon as possible
According to the Report on the Supervision of Electronic Cigarette Industry (2019), completed by the Research Group on Public Health and Technical Supervision of Tsinghua University, the number of electronic cigarette consumers in China reached 7.4 million in 2017, and the annual growth rate was more than double-digit.
After experiencing the initial product incubation, the most sensitive capital to the market moves first. Capital Chase has accelerated the formation of this storm eye. According to incomplete statistics, there are thousands of e-cigarette enterprises in China, almost every day new competitors join in. The concept of e-cigarette has been formed in the stock market, and the valuation of individual e-cigarette enterprises has exceeded 2 billion US dollars.
What follows is the chaos of the electronic cigarette market. First of all, false concepts are prevalent and different terms are used. Unlike traditional tobacco advertising, electronic cigarette advertising and advertising signs are basically not controlled, and various terminologies are flooded with various advertising platforms, which play an obvious role in guiding consumers to buy. Secondly, electronic cigarettes have no industry standards, and the contents and materials of various components are not standardized, such as nicotine content in cigarette fluids is not standardized, and nicotine content is not standardized. The content of formaldehyde, propylene glycol, glycerol and other prohibited substances can be detected even in the smoke.
In fact, e-cigarettes are no less harmful and addictive than traditional tobacco. It’s reported on September 11 that the Kansas State Department of Health announced the first fatal case of e-cigarette related diseases in the state, which is the sixth case in the United States. Since May and June, the number of e-cigarette-related lung diseases has surged, with about 450 cases in 33 states, according to the CDC.
At the same time, electronic cigarette smoke contains a certain amount of nicotine, which is known to be one of the important components of tobacco addiction. However, in China, the attributes of electronic cigarettes have not yet been clearly defined. In the relevant laws and regulations, it has not been found that there are provisions explicitly mentioning that “electronic cigarette” belongs to tobacco, and the classification of tobacco in tobacco industry standards has not included “electronic cigarette”.
As a result, people concerned call for speeding up the introduction of electronic cigarette industry standards and improving government supervision. At the end of July, the head of the National Health Commission said that it planned to regulate e-cigarettes through legislation.
However, the author believes that in view of the actual characteristics of electronic cigarettes, it should be prioritized and identified as addictive tobacco products as soon as possible. Besides, it conforms to the actual situation of the electronic cigarette market, and can quickly improve its supervision and prevent the emergence of a blank period.
The qualitative analysis of electronic cigarettes in various countries can be used as a reference. Data show that Brunei, Korea, Lithuania, Malta, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries define electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom and other countries define electronic cigarettes as pharmaceutical products, while Bulgaria, Italy, India, the Netherlands, Russia and other countries define it as ordinary consumer goods. Generally speaking, most countries include electronic cigarettes in the strictly controlled range of tobacco products and drugs.
On the other hand, classifying electronic cigarettes into tobacco products has a direct effect on controlling the expansion of smoking population and improving the national health level. On May 31, the China CDC released a national survey on tobacco control. The results showed that the total number of smokers in China decreased for the first time after several decades. It is noteworthy that the number of smokers of statistical scope does not include the growing number of people who smoke electronic cigarettes.
Undoubtedly, if e-e-cig is defined as tobacco products or quasi-tobacco products, it can be immediately included in the current relatively perfect tobacco regulatory policy. And the relevant advertising, sales and other aspects will further be limited, in case its impact on young people. At same time it will prevent smokers from the expanding tobacco hazards.
China Tobacco Hong Kong
China Tobacco Hong Kong is the only global import and export business operator of the Group. The existing business only includes the export business of new tobacco products, and the import business is not in the main business scope. However, as a designated offshore platform of CITIC, it is reasonable to believe that the import business of electronic cigarettes will also belong to CITIC Hong Kong after it is taken over by CITIC through the national standard. In this policy evolution in the field of electronic cigarettes, China Tobacco Hong Kong is bound to benefit a lot.