BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities on Friday stepped up bans on selling e-cigarettes to minors as well as online sales and ads of vaping over health and safety concerns.
The State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA) and the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) jointly released a notice aimed at further reducing minors' exposure to vaping products and strengthening supervision of the industry.
"A complement to traditional tobacco products, such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes pose greater health and safety risks especially to minors," an official with the STMA told Xinhua.
A majority of e-cigarette makers are indiscreet in raw material selection, additive use, process design and quality control, and there are serious safety hazards such as unsafe ingredients, cigarette liquid leakage and inferior batteries, the official said.
The two government agencies introduced a ban on selling vaping products to those aged under 18 in August 2018. It raised awareness of vaping's harm to minors and saw fewer sales pitches to the vulnerable group, but some minors still access vaping through the internet, said the official.
A large chunk of China's e-cigarette sales occurs online, with the platforms of e-commerce, social networking, online streaming and e-cigarette enterprises' websites as the main channels.
Many e-cigarette enterprises target their online marketing at young people, misleading consumers with untrue advertising such as "help you quit smoking" and "healthy and harmless." Some label vaping as symbolizing "young," "fashionable" and "trendy" to induce minors.
The notice forbids all types of market entities from selling e-cigarettes to minors. Said entities are urged to shut down online sales in a timely manner and withdraw online ads.
The STMA, the SAMR and other departments will take more stringent measures to clean up online e-commerce platforms, e-cigarette makers' marketing websites and e-cigarette shops in accordance with the law, and crack down on the illegal production and sales of e-cigarettes, so as to effectively safeguard the lawful rights and interests of minors and health of consumers, the STMA official said.