The reporter of this newspaper actually explored the sales stores of electronic cigarettes:

  Minors can't buy directly

  Our reporter Li Qiaoyu Wang He

  On February 22, the Ministry of Public Security, the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, the State Administration for Market Regulation, and the Ministry of Education jointly issued the "Special Work Plan for Cleaning and Rectifying the Sales of Electronic Cigarettes to Minors and Severely Combatting Crimes Involving Electronic Cigarettes" (hereinafter referred to as the "Plan") ).

On February 23, a reporter from "Securities Daily" learned by visiting a number of offline stores of e-cigarettes in Beijing that e-cigarette stores in Beijing are relatively strict and require verification of identity information in the form of scanning codes. For consumers who cannot prove their adulthood sales are refused.

  In the face of reporters' questions about how minors can buy, some e-cigarette salespersons offered to buy them by adults.

  "We subjectively hope to prevent e-cigarettes from flowing into the hands of minors." Another staff member of an e-cigarette company told the "Securities Daily" reporter frankly, "The company has also made a lot of efforts for this. At present, the company's own monopoly The in-store execution is very good, but we are also incapable of doing anything about unofficially authorized illegal micro-business channels and some aggregator sales channels. The solution now is to see one and report one.”

  Leading stock prices "flash crash"

  Some brokerages downgraded their ratings

  The "Plan" will carry out special work to clean up a number of e-cigarette sales outlets and e-cigarette vending machines around the campus, investigate and deal with a number of illegal cases of selling e-cigarettes to minors, and detect a number of "top e-cigarettes" and other drug-related violations criminal cases, etc.

  After the "Plan" was released on February 22, in the Hong Kong stock market, the share price of e-cigarette leader Smol International fell 8.18% that day; it continued to drop 2.11% the next day.

Within two trading days, the share price of Smol International fell 10.12%; in the U.S. stock market, on February 22, Fogcore Technology plunged 14.37% to $2.98 per share, approaching a historical low.

  Why did the plan to clean up and rectify the sale of e-cigarettes to minors caused the stock prices of leading e-cigarette concept stocks to plummet?

An investor from a leading e-cigarette manufacturer admitted to a reporter from Securities Daily that at present, minors are still an important consumer group of e-cigarettes. With the gradual tightening of supervision, it is expected to have an impact on the performance of related companies. , its performance in the capital market is hardly optimistic.

  According to a research report released by Daiwa Securities, China's crackdown on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors will lead to bleak performance in China's e-cigarette sales at least in the first half of this year.

The research report lowered Smol International's rating from "buy" to "outperform", and lowered the target price by 40% from HK$60 to HK$36. It believes that the current market expectations are still too optimistic.

  There are sales people

  Buying cigarettes for minors

  How to buy e-cigarettes in the hands of minors?

An underage high school student told the reporter that some people in her class did smoke e-cigarettes, and the purchase channel was Wechat; another high school student also admitted to the reporter that many students in his class smoked, and relatively few smoked e-cigarettes.

  On February 23, the reporter visited a number of electronic cigarette shops located in Haidian District, Beijing.

"If minors come to buy, we will not sell it. First, you must scan the code in the store and register and purchase with your real name." A staff member of an electronic cigarette specialty store told the "Securities Daily" reporter, "Compared to traditional paper cigarettes, Electronic cigarettes do not contain tar, and have low nicotine content. They have no soot and no taste. In recent years, electronic cigarettes have become more popular, and both men and women come to buy them, not only young people, but also the elderly.”

  "Now the management is more strict, and it is required to scan the code for real-name registration when purchasing."

The staff of another e-cigarette experience store also admitted to the "Securities Daily" reporter frankly, but he also "advised" the reporter, saying that minors can ask adults to buy on their behalf.

  On the e-commerce platform, the reporter found that although e-cigarette products could not be directly retrieved, after consulting some store staff, the staff would ask consumers to add WeChat to select styles.

  The reporter added a salesperson of a certain brand of electronic cigarettes through the WeChat channel. The other party did not ask the reporter to confirm his adult identity in the process of introducing the category and price. The staff member also emphasized that it cannot be purchased through e-commerce channels, but can only be traded through transfer.

But after the reporter pretended to be a minor, the staff member refused to sell electronic cigarette products to the reporter.

  "In order to protect minors and standardize sales channels, we have made a lot of efforts. Now to buy products, you basically need to scan the QR code to register your identity information, and at the same time, you need to perform face recognition to prevent the misappropriation of other people's information." A staff member of an e-cigarette brand told "Securities Daily" reporter, at present, the implementation effect at the store level is very good, basically achieving "one single code".

However, she also told reporters that she felt headaches about the illegal resale channels of micro-businesses and the channels of combined merchants whose purchasing process was not standardized enough.

"Those channels are not easy to manage," the staff member admitted.

  The staff member told reporters that in addition to the problem of imperfect identity verification, illegal micro-business channels are also hotbeds for incubating pirated products, which are likely to seriously endanger consumer safety. from micro-business channels.

He said that at present, the company encourages everyone to report illegal e-cigarette micro-businesses, and the company level is also actively cooperating with the police in anti-counterfeiting operations.

  Tighter regulation drives industry maturity

  Industry Advice Drives Execution with Technology

  "The gradual refinement and upgrading of supervision is the process of the industry becoming mature." Dong Yizhi, a lawyer from Shanghai Zhengce Law Firm, told the "Securities Daily" reporter that prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors is a red line in the law.

In the long run, the gradual upgrading and refinement of policies is very beneficial to the development of this industry.

  Jiang Han, a senior researcher at Pangu Think Tank, suggested that cleaning up the sale of e-cigarettes to minors can start from the sales channels.

"The source of the problem is that the sales channels of e-cigarettes are still messy, and the management of micro-business platforms and some e-commerce platforms is not standardized." In Jiang Han's view, if strict supervision on channels can be carried out, it will effectively reduce the use of e-cigarettes by minors. probability of smoke.

  Dong Yizhi suggested that businesses should promote technical management upgrades on the execution side.

In his view, compared with traditional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes are more suitable for identifying users of electronic cigarette products through technical means.

In this process, the e-cigarette industry may reshuffle again, and some small and medium-sized enterprises with insufficient compliance will be eliminated.

  At the end of 2021, the draft of the "Administrative Measures for Electronic Cigarettes" was released.

According to anecdotal reports, specific regulatory measures are expected to be implemented in the middle of this year.

"We all look forward to the introduction of the management rules as soon as possible, which will bring continuous benefits to the e-cigarette industry." Some staff members of e-cigarette companies said.

  Obviously, there is still a long way to go to clean up and rectify the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

(Securities Daily)