As of today, there are no restrictions on e-cigarettes in China. Indeed, the device is not regulated as a tobacco product.
A quick reminder: the e-cigarette was (re)-invented by a Chinese pharmacist in 2003, and it is widely considered as much safer than traditional cigarettes. Many specialists also believe that the e-cigarette is a valuable tool for helping smokers quit smoking.
Some experts, however, are still sceptical of the device, pointing out that e-cigarettes generally contain nicotine and thus create potentially noxious second-hand smoke.
Heavily mediatised incidents raise questions about e-cigarette regulations in China
Recently, there have been multiple e-cigarette related incidents in China. These events were heavily publicized and triggered a public outcry against vaping.
Last month, an incident occurred in an airline cockpit on an Air China flight. The event caused the airplane to lose cabin pressure and forced it to rapidly descend to 6,500 meters. Both pilots were subsequently dismissed.
During the same period, a passenger using an e-cigarette in the Beijing metro caused a massive debate over whether or not vaping is the same as smoking. After a series of events, Chinese tobacco regulators have asked for more e-cigarette regulations. They have also called for a ban on vaping in public.
Some towns in China have already implemented measures to make the e-cigarette comparable to a tobacco product. In Hangzhou, for example, in the east of China, vaping and smoking are considered equivalent.
Victoria has been an e-cigarette enthusiast since the first mechanical models. She brings her legal expertise of e-cigarette legislation in France and around the world.