China’s e-cigarette, growth-hormone stocks slump after media warning of health concern
Published: Aug 05, 2021 11:43 AM
An e-cigarette smoker File photo: VCG

An e-cigarette smoker is smoking  File photo: VCG

China's e-cigarette and growth-hormone companies tumbled on Thursday, after state media issued a new warning that these products do damage to people's health.

Shenzhen-based Smoore International, the world's largest vaping device manufacturer, saw its shares slump by 6.5 percent in the Hong Kong market in the early morning trading.

China Boton Group, an e-cigarette maker that is also based in Shenzhen, lost nearly 4 percent in Hong Kong trading, while Hong Kong-based Huabao International Holdings shed 4.5 percent.

In the A-share market, most e-cigarette relevant shares saw a drop on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, a Xinhua News Agency report said that although the central government has issued documents forbidding all types of market entities from selling e-cigarettes to minors, despite some still doing so.

The report warns people of hidden risks, saying that its damage to minors' health continues. According to a survey released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the proportion of middle-school students that have heard of e-cigarettes was 69.9 percent in 2019, an increase of 24.9 percentage points compared with that in 2014. Over the period, the rate of middle-school students that use e-cigarettes reached 2.7 percent in 2019, up 1.5 percentage points.

On Thursday, Changchun High & New Technology Industry, a company based in northeastern China that makes vaccines and products used to treat growth-hormone deficiency - opened down by its daily limit of 10 percent to 276.51 yuan ($42.78) per share.

Anhui Anke Biotechnology (Group) Co, whose dominant products include recombinant human growth hormone, plunged by around 13 percent at the opening.

Xinhua pointed out in a separate article that there are signs of abuse of growth-hormone, as some young people who are infatuated with stature are stretching themselves to new heights. The report said that the abuse of growth-hormone will lead to health risks such as hormone imbalance and scoliosis.

"The abuse of growth-hormones will cause long-term damage to the health of the children including endocrine disorders and obesity," Liu Lan, the general secretary of the China Dietitian Association, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

She pointed out that the parents' concern for their children's height originated from a lack of understanding and knowledge leading to blind following of trend, offering an opportunity to some medical institutions that take advantage of the parental anxiety to make money and earn profits.

The Xinhua News Agency reported that because the promotion of growth-hormone had become incredibly profitable, some medical representatives use high rebates to lure pediatricians to overwrite prescriptions.

Liang Furong, a doctor from Children's Clinic at Peking University Health Science Center, told the Global Times on Thursday that currently, hospitals are subject to certain regulations controlling prescribing growth-hormone.

She suggested that the health authorities should strengthen the training and supervision for doctors, and that guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of children, including clinical abuse and excessive use of growth hormone should be strictly adhered to.