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Market regulators have decided to ban online sales and advertising of e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns that vaping and a fledgling online market may victimize minors, a government notice said on Friday.
Producers and sellers of electronic cigarettes are urged to shut down websites and other online portals, as well as suspend related advertising.
E-commerce platforms are also required to remove retailers selling e-cigarettes and pull their merchandise, according to a statement released by the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration and the State Administration for Market Regulation.
The ban takes effect immediately.
It is believed that electronic cigarettes have lured minors into regular nicotine use.
Last August, China forbade the sale of e-cigarettes to people under 18 years of age, but they are still available across the country"s bustling marketplace where age verification is harder to implement.
According to the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, research has shown that vaping businesses tend to target young people with their advertising campaigns.
They mislead potential consumers by falsely claiming that their products are harmless and effective for quitting tobacco use, and associate vaping with a fashionable and trendy lifestyle, the administration said in a release explaining the ban.
"A quick search of online shopping platforms returns many results for electronic cigarettes, and some retailers boast total sales of hundreds of thousands of packages," said Wang Ke"an, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Traditional tobacco products are banned from online sales, and electronic types should be treated equally," he said.
In China, the market for electronic cigarettes is rife with substandard products. They are often adulterated with harmful substances that are intended to diversify their flavor and color, according to the administration. Leaking tobacco juice and malfunctioning batteries also create hazards.
"There are at least 15,000 types of additives that can be put in e-cigarettes to create a range of flavors from mint to tropical fruits," said Sun Jiani, an officer with the WHO China Representative Office.
"While research into the impact of these additives on health is underway, it is proved that e-cigarettes also contain nicotine that can harm the development of children and teenagers."
The government notice also called for stepping up supervision over the entire industry of e-cigarettes, including the brick-and-mortar stores.
There are over 300 million smokers in China, and 28.1 percent of people aged 15 years and older smoke. The country aims at slashing the percentage to 20 percent by 2030.custom made silicone wristbandscustom engraved charms for braceletssilicone wristbands for schoolswristband custom silicone braceletssequentially numbered silicone wristbands