BEIJING—At this year’s eCig Expo in Shanghai, attendees celebrated the surge of vaping consumers in China; however, the celebrations may soon be halted, reports the New York Times. With nearly as many vapers as the entire population of the United States (more than 300 million compared to 10.8 million in the U.S.), China was the place to be according to both domestic and western investors—but that might be changing with pressures being placed on the vaping industry by the Chinese government.
Online sales of vaping products have been banned by regulators and numerous efforts have been made to raise awareness of the potential negative health effects of vaping. The government is also considering putting a ban on vaping in public places. The crackdown could seriously impact an almost exclusively Chinese industry—90% of the world’s e-cigarettes are made in China—and could affect both domestic and international sellers alike. “We basically have no orders coming in this month after what happened in the United States,” said Chen Lin, a sales manager for a company that produces parts of e-cigarette atomizers. China has over 9,500 vape supply companies.
With mounting concerns, such as the illnesses and deaths caused by vaping in the U.S., the government has stepped in after years of allowing the lucrative e-cigarette businesses grow. With such low barriers to entry, manufacturers had been taking advantage of the void by flooding the market with products under haphazard quality control, with unsafe ingredients and with liquid leakage.
The government is now set to force producers to comply with a “national standard” for ingredients and manufacturing, a move that could cause a significant price increase for businesses. Experts say the process would increase production costs and likely put many smaller e-cigarette exporters out of business. However, at the same time, the “national standard” would prevent false advertising on ingredients lists, a problem China has faced in the past.