China tightens control of E-cigarettes

March 19, 2022

By Donnie Dong & Bowen Dai

Chinese tobacco administrative authority unveiled a regulation titled Administrative Measures for E-cigarettes (Measures), which will place a significant impact on the booming E-cigarettes industry. The Measures will be effective as of May 1, 2022.

By defining “E-cigarettes” to include pods, smoking sets, and “products sold in combination with the pods and smoking sets”, the Measures aim to strengthen the governmental control over the whole industry.

Among others, multi-national enterprises engaged in E-cigarette-related businesses should pay more attention to the following provisions under the Measures:

1.  E-cigarette products must attach trademarks that are registered with the PRC Trademark Office. Unregistered trademarks are prohibited to be used on E-cigarette products.

2.  E-cigarette products shall follow compulsory requirements of packaging labels and warning messages.

3.  Companies holding tobacco wholesale licenses are not allowed to sell E-cigarette products before receiving additional approval from the government authority.

4.  Any entity engaging in retail of E-cigarette products must also hold retailing license issued by the authority, which essentially equals the E-cigarette business to the traditional tobacco business.

5.  The National Tobacco Monopoly Bureau will establish a single national online E-cigarette transaction platform. Other than this platform, E-cigarette manufacturers, atomizer manufacturers, producers of nicotine products for E-cigarettes, wholesalers, and retail business operators of E-cigarettes are prohibited from selling their products through other online channels.

6.  E-cigarette retailers must purchase E-cigarette products from licensed local E-cigarette wholesalers.

7.  A retailer shall not exclusively sell just one brand of the E-cigarette product.

8.  Self-service vending machines are prohibited to be used for E-cigarette retailing.

9.  The sale of flavored E-cigarettes other than tobacco flavors is prohibited.

10.  Manufacturing and trade of export-only E-cigarette products are allowed, while the manufacturers and traders shall comply with the laws and standards of the destination country. If a destination country has no laws and product standards over E-cigarettes, then the Chinese standards shall apply.

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Author: Donnie Dong. Admitted to practice in China and New York State, the author is a seasoned lawyer focusing his practice on trade compliance, data privacy, and intellectual property.

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