China is the main tobacco consumer and producer in the world. There are 300 million smokers in China. And the country produces around 40% of the cigarettes available worldwide. Cigarettes actually fully belong to the Chinese culture. The sales of tobacco products represent essential funding for the country. But tobacco consumption isn’t harmless for the health and leads to cancers, respiratory or cardio-vascular diseases.
While tobacco-related illnesses lead to huge medical costs, the Chinese state has decided to act since 2003. China has therefore signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of the WHO. The decrease of tobacco use is here the main objective. In 2015, taxes on cigarettes rose from 5 to 11%. And Beijing introduced a ban on public smoking. This measure should spread nationally by the end of 2017.
The impact of the measures is quite significant, and the Chinese tobacco use has decreased for the first time in 20 years.
Development of the e-cigarette market in China
Meanwhile, the electronic cigarette market has been growing over the past few months. And vaping is clearly marketed as an alternative to tobacco smoking. Between 2015 and 2017, hundreds of vaping stores have opened in large Chinese cities.
This market is clearly booming but is today not regulated at all. Indeed, vaping devices do not clearly belong to any commercial category. We talk about “e-cigarettes”, “vaporizers” or “vape pens”. And these devices have different looks but quite similar operation modes. Even though some products heat tobacco (heat sticks) while others produce vapor.
Most of the countries located in Asia regulate, or even ban e-cigarettes. On the contrary, China’s vaping market is still new and unregulated. Without price or product control. There are also no sales restrictions, especially for minors. These measures are absolutely necessary so that e-cigarettes might dethrone tobacco products.