The Chinese government has begun to enforce a set of previously disclosed legislation regarding vape products. These new measures, which came into effect on October 1, have left Chinese vapers scrambling for stock.
The government outlined plans to rectify issues seen in the existing market in accordance with the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA) on November 26, 2021.
A flavor ban is one of the most significant effects of this new wave of regulation and has left Chinese vapers rushing to stock up on their favorite supplies.
Other additional changes outlined include more stringent technical specifications over a broader spectrum for vape manufacturers.
This has been done as part of a trial policy initiated by the Chinese government to achieve a more regulated vape industry. The policy is called Several Policies and Measures on Promoting the Legalization and Standardization of the Electronic Cigarette Industry
As outlined by the government, the purpose of this trial is “to put the development of the e-cigarette industry on the track toward legalization and standardization” by building on already existing regulations, but now under the control of the STMA.
The new regulation has resulted in numerous questions coming into play regarding the exportation of Chinese-made vapes.
What Did the New Regulations Bring?
China has already implemented various regulations to attempt to control the vape market in the past. Among these regulations, the Chinese government had already banned the online sales of vape products in 2019.
Yet these new regulations can be considered far more strict. Under the new regulations, vapes will now be required to comply with a revised list of permitted ingredients and additives, nicotine percentages, testing and safety standards, and accreditation of products. This has been termed as the new technical standards.
These may become very important in the context of exporting devices and other products, particularly for countries that do not have existing regulations regarding vapes.
Another significant part of these regulations is the ban on flavored tobacco products, including vapes, as well as bans on nicotine-free e-cigarettes, solid-state e-cigarettes, and open e-cigarettes.
It is fairly easy to see how strict these new regulations truly are. This is especially true when considering how stern China can be when it comes to enforcing laws. Many countries have certain regulations that appear strict, but it is often the case where these rules are not strictly enforced.
It is only a matter of time before it is known just how strongly the Chinese government will back up these new regulations.
China’s Vape Industry
Like the majority of the world, the vape industry in China has seen explosive growth in response to the sheer demand for these products. This is doubly true as a result of China’s standpoint as a global leader of manufacturing and exporting vapes.
Despite this, the vaping industry has only managed to reach a mere 1.5% of people in China. This pales in comparison to the likes of other Western countries that have seen penetration rates closer to 30%.
These new regulations, however, have the potential to become a significant hindrance in expanding their market, halting further growth completely.
It is no secret that flavored e-liquids represent one of the biggest factors that can sway traditional cigarette smokers away from said vice and into vapes and e-cigarettes.
STMA will be enforcing these new regulations and in doing so, they are eligible to deal with any manufacturers who infringe on them in a number of ways they see fit. These range from what can essentially be considered a slap on the wrist, through to manufacturers being subject to serious criminal charges.
How Does This Affect Manufacture and Export
One of the most important considerations with these new regulations is what this means to the global market in regards to China as a massive exporter of vape products.
According to the Blue Book released by The Electronic Cigarette Industry Committee of the China Electronics Chamber of Commerce, the exportation of vapes and related devices will generate an estimated $27.82 billion in 2022.
Furthermore, their export market demonstrated growth of 180% as of 2021.
These new regulations have raised some valid questions. This first is this: if flavored vape products are banned in China, will manufacturers still be able to make and export them to the rest of the world?
Another important question to ask is if these manufacturers will even be allowed to produce products that fall outside of the new technical specification requirements.
Both of these questions hold their own challenges for the international market. A huge majority of vapes, disposable and otherwise, are manufactured specifically to meet the demand within the international market like so many other Chinese-made products.
Although certain places like the United States are cracking down with flavor bans, flavored vape juices remain one of the most attractive prospects for vaping.
If the Chinese e-cigarette enterprises, which number over 1500, cannot continue their business, vapers across the world will suffer.
Allegedly, the Chinese government is somewhat sympathetic to this fact. Regulators have noted that products intended solely for export to foreign markets will be subject only to the regulations of the country in question. However, there is a clause worth noting.
If the destination country does not have existing standards for their vape trade, these specifications will default to the newly introduced Chinese standards.
The long-anticipated reform of China’s vaping market has finally come into play as of October 1, 2022. The Chinese government had given manufacturers and vape users multiple indications that there were new regulations looming, but they had been delayed multiple times.
Under the new control of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, a number of updated regulations have been released. These include flavor bans, as well as various technical specification requirements.
Thankfully for the global population, it appears these new regulations will not hugely affect the massive export industry. However, time will certainly tell whether this is true.