THR Advocates Applaud China’s New Regulatory MoveArvin Peh
On June 20, 2023, the Office of the State Tobacco Administration sent out a notification on the “Guidelines for Promoting the Building of Quality Assurance Systems for Exported Electronic Cigarette Products“. 2FIRSTS forwarded the news to key figures in the industry for their points of view.
Professor Gerry Stimson, emeritus professor at Imperial College London, and director of Knowledge Action Change, an independent public health policy agency, said:
“These new regulations will have a major global impact on the quality and safety of e-cigarettes (nicotine vapes). Our Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction project (https://gsthr.org) shows that there are 84 countries across the world which do not currently have any e-cigarette standards. Given that 95% of e-cigarettes are manufactured in China, the introduction of these guidelines means that there will effectively now be a global standard. This will have a bigger impact on global regulation than, for example, the debates and discussions currently going on within the World Health Organization. There are also a further 73 countries that have some e-cigarette standards, many of which have been struggling to find ways to deal with the importation of “illicit” vapes, i.e. those which do not meet local regulatory standards. Couple this with the traceability requirements included in these new regulations, it would mean that products which do not meet local standards could now be traced back to Chinese manufacturers, with the potential for action being brought by Chinese authorities. At a stroke, therefore, there is the potential for these measures to bring about a global quality control system for e-cigarettes.”
Clive Bates, Director of Counterfactual Consulting, former Director of Action on Smoking and Health (UK), and a supporter of tobacco harm reduction, said:
“China is already the world’s leading innovator and exporter of vaping products, and it could lead a structural overhaul in the entrenched position of the cigarette trade both at home and internationally, using technology to address the enormous health burdens of smoking. With around 30% of the world’s smokers, China could revolutionize its own public health outlook and make a massive impact globally. I hope we will see some parallels with China’s assertive approach to innovation, export, and implementation of renewable energy, such as solar PV, to tackle climate change.”
“But to do this, it will need to convince an often skeptical and sometimes hostile world that it has a firm grip on the concerns about vaping product quality and the related chemical, electrical, thermal, and mechanical risks. The new guidance on quality assurance systems and the emergence of a standards-based regime for vaping products will do much to enhance the reputation of China’s vaping industry, as long as the guidance and standards are proportionate and enforced with consumer protection interests in mind.”
Vape companies and vape associations also expressed unwavering support for the new regulation.