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China’s market regulator issues national standards for e-cigarettes

April 13, 2022

A quality control worker checks a pods on the production line for the e-cigarette company Mystlabs at First Union, one of China's leading manufacturers of vaping products, on September 25, 2019 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

China’s market regulator on Tuesday unveiled technical standards for e-cigarettes which will go into effect starting October 1.

In a public document, the State Administration for Market Regulation listed the requirements for design, chemical compounds, and the mechanics for e-cigarettes that domestic manufacturers must meet in order to sell their products.

The release of the standards marks another milestone for China’s e-cigarette industry.

The country produces an overwhelming majority of e-cigarettes sold domestically and worldwide.

However, at home, it has operated for years in a regulatory grey area, while the influence of China’s state-owned tobacco monopoly has loomed large over the sector.

In March, tobacco authorities issued a finalised version of rules that stipulate other requirements for e-cigarette companies in China.

Most notably, the rules state that e-cigarette companies may only sell their products through authorised channels, and also bar vendors from selling e-cigarette flavours other than tobacco.

The rules have brought chaos to the sector.

Shares in Smoore International Holdings Ltd, one of China’s top e-cigarette vendors, have fallen almost 70 per cent since the first draft rules were published in December 2021.

RLX Technology Inc, China’s top e-cigarette brand, has seen its share price fall by roughly 50 per cent over the same time period.