China releases national standards for e-cigarettes, after 5 years waiting
Published: Apr 13, 2022 12:24 AM
E-cigarettes are sold in a shopping mall in Shanghai on December 27, 2021. Photo: VCG
E-cigarettes are sold in a shopping mall in Shanghai on December 27, 2021. Photo: VCG

China's market regulator approved on Tuesday the mandatory national standards for e-cigarettes that will be effective from October 1, 2022. Dubbed as an access threshold for the industry, the long-awaited national standards for e-cigarettes have finally been unveiled after five years.

The e-cigarette national standards have detailed criteria for taste, use and the protection of minors, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR).

For example, the design of the product should not induce minors. The e-cigarette set and cartridges should be sealed to prevent refilling. E-cigarette sets should have a protection to prevent the device to be turned on by a child or by accident.

"The official release of the national standards for e-cigarettes means that there is a threshold for market access and a national mandatory standard for the quality of e-cigarettes, which is of great significance in protecting the rights and interests of minors and consumers," said Ao Weino, Secretary-General of the Electronic Cigarette Industry Committee of the China Electronics Chamber of Commerce, Chinese media outlet Yicai reported on Tuesday.

Additionally, Chen Zhong, a senior expert on the e-cigarette industry, said that the era of regulation of e-cigarettes has come and it is an important milestone in the development of e-cigarettes in China.

"From now on, all [e-cigarette] products will be developed according to open and transparent rules, and the whole industry chain will adopt the same standards," Chen was quoted in a report by the Securities Times.

"The new regulations will go into effect on October 1, giving the industry an extra five months to clear inventory and develop new products. That is a very valuable time," a manager of an e-cigarette business said.

The e-cigarette regulations were released by the State Tobacco Administration on March 11 and were set to be effective from May 1, 2022.

China's e-cigarette production and distribution will follow national standards, according to a second draft of the e-cigarette standards released by the SAMR in March.

The e-cigarette national standards formulation plan was issued in October 2017. In 2019, the State Tobacco Administration and the SAMR decided to ban online sales of e-cigarettes.

According to the E-Cigarette Industry Blue Book 2021, there are more than 1,500 e-cigarette manufacturers and brands and nearly 190,000 e-cigarette retail stores in China.

In addition, there are nearly 100,000 e-cigarette supply chains and related service enterprises, providing 1.5 million direct jobs and 4 million indirect jobs.

At the same time, data showed that the size of the domestic retail market of e-cigarettes was about 19.7 billion yuan ($3.09 billion) in 2021 with a year-on-year growth of 36 percent. The global market is about $80 billion and China's e-cigarette exports totaled 138.3 billion yuan ($21.7 billion) in 2021, up 180 percent year-on-year.

Global Times