Under the "heavy blow" of the regulatory authorities, the phenomenon of online trading of electronic cigarettes and guiding minors to buy electronic cigarettes has not been stopped.

  On January 18, The Paper released an exclusive report. The reporter found that there are merchants selling electronic cigarettes on major e-commerce and social platforms, and the methods are concealed, using various words or video pictures to avoid censorship.

  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") ), deploying special clean-up and rectification work from now until the end of April.

  On March 11, the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration issued the "Measures for the Administration of Electronic Cigarettes" (hereinafter referred to as the "Measures"), emphasizing the need to strengthen publicity and education on the health hazards of smoking electronic cigarettes, discourage young people from smoking electronic cigarettes, and prohibit primary and secondary school students from smoking electronic cigarettes.

  So, after the introduction of the new policy, have the online transactions of related e-commerce and social platforms improved?

  According to the reporter's follow-up investigation, the situation is still not objective: the situation of the proliferation of electronic cigarette online transactions has not changed significantly, the platform drainage and purchase has no threshold for minors, and even organized teams are formed to encourage sales to student groups.

  At the same time, the reporter visited the offline stores of e-cigarettes and found that although the offline stores have relatively strict management on the purchase of e-cigarettes by minors, they can still easily add WeChat, WeChat Moments, WeChat business, etc. without the need to verify their identity. buy electronic cigarettes.

Online transactions are "repeatedly prohibited", and major mainstream platforms can easily buy

  "Smoking cessation protective cover", "electronic cigarette charger", "electronic atomization"... E-cigarette sales with the keyword "makeover" have become a key means of online illegal transactions. , has not been improved.

  According to surging news reporters, searching for "electronic cigarettes" on the e-commerce platform will pop up a "green net plan" prompt, indicating that the law stipulates that tobacco monopoly products are not allowed to be sold through information networks.

However, similar keywords will not be regulated. Searching for "RELX 5th generation", "smoking cessation set", "dzy", "electronic atomization", etc., a large number of shops selling electronic cigarettes will pop up.

  Previously on social platforms, when reporters searched for "electronic cigarettes" in the chat box, they found that a large number of users with "electronic cigarettes" as IDs publicly sold electronic cigarettes on their personal homepages.

According to the search records, the reporter also joined 5-6 group chats named after electronic cigarettes, and the group mainly exchanged specific information on the online transaction of electronic cigarettes.

  Taking a social platform as an example, according to a reporter’s investigation, after the introduction of the “Plan”, group chats with “electronic cigarette” as the ID and “electronic cigarette” as the name have been hard to find, but if “atomization” and “e-vapor” are used as the name Searching for keywords such as "protective sleeve" can still find a large number of group chats and sellers of electronic cigarette online transactions.

  At the same time, in addition to soul, Hupu, Douban, and Tantan, the reporter also found traces of online sales of electronic cigarettes on Xiaohongshu and Xianyu. Many of the transaction information appeared in the comment area, and sellers would publish "squatters" Implied messages such as "click here" evade keywords and lead buyers to personal homepages.

  It is worth noting that, whether it is an e-commerce or a social platform, a common feature is that the platform is a diverter, and the final transaction method is still conducted through "adding WeChat". The reporter found that on Xianyu platform, "adding WeChat" "Trade is more common.

The information left by the seller is all "selling protective cover". After the buyer inquires, they will take the initiative to request to add WeChat transaction.

  It is worth noting that when the reporter communicated with the above-mentioned sellers to buy, none of the sellers asked the reporter's age. When the reporter revealed his student status, one buyer even said: the student status is the best seller, and he was enthusiastic to put the reporter. developed into an agent.

Online transactions are "teamed" and "scaled", and agents are developed layer by layer

  The reporter's investigation found that today's electronic cigarette transactions have shown obvious "scale". In many transaction group chats, some sellers are actively developing agents, and said that "money can be made with the touch of a finger".

  A seller told The Paper that agents are mainly divided into two modes. The first is to get the goods at the purchase price, and then sell them to customers at a high price; the second is to drain traffic and expand channels for the source sellers. Do not take goods.

There are also sellers who say that they need to charge a membership fee of 200 yuan to be allowed to become an agent.

"The membership fee is not given to me, but to the person above." After paying the membership fee, you will be eligible to purchase goods. As for how much money you can earn, "all depends on your ability."

  The sales materials, pictures and videos required by the agents are all provided by the superiors.

Another seller said that there is a clear underground network for e-cigarette sales, through the chairman, and then to the lower level, one layer at a time, each layer will earn the difference in price, and finally reach the consumer.

However, there is no contact between the teams, only the purchaser and the shipper have contact, and he does not know who the chairman is, but some public information will be circulated among the members.

  The purchase price offered by different teams is also different.

A seller showed the reporter a quotation for the purchase of electronic cigarettes: taking the YOOZ Zero second-generation series as an example, the purchase price of a single rod is 130 yuan, and the official price ranges from 248 yuan to 278 yuan; RELX fifth-generation series, the purchase price The price is 150 yuan per shot, and the official price is 268 yuan.

The specific shipping price can be decided by oneself, but generally more than 200 yuan.

Offline stores guide "WeChat transactions", purchase without ID card

  The surging journalists visited a number of e-cigarette stores and found that even if it is an offline transaction, minors can still "convert" to online and easily buy e-cigarettes.

  On March 10, the reporter visited a number of RELX electronic cigarette offline stores in Hongkou District, Shanghai. To buy electronic cigarettes on the spot, you need to scan the code for real-name registration and confirm your adult identity before purchasing.

  However, many store owners said that they do not need to go to the store to buy on the spot in the future. They can add WeChat to watch the circle of friends first, and they can directly "flash delivery" if necessary. As for whether flash delivery needs to verify identity information, the store owner said no.

  When the reporter made it clear that he was a minor, or bought on behalf of a minor, many shop owners agreed.

"Just pay."

  An e-cigarette company practitioner admitted to The Paper that compliance management is always a headache and unavoidable problem for every company, distributor, and even store.

Especially in today's increasingly fierce market competition, profitability is the biggest reason for repeated violations.

  "The electronic atomizer industry is a rapidly emerging new track in the field of fast-moving consumer goods. The phenomenon of random prices, smuggling, selling counterfeit goods and selling to minors has been banned repeatedly. Stricter compliance management has become a must for leading companies in the industry. the problem we are facing."

  The practitioner said that at present, e-cigarette companies have stepped up measures to prevent minors from purchasing. Today, most e-cigarette products not only clearly warn on the outer packaging that minors are prohibited from purchasing, but also take effective age checks for customers who come to the store, and place them in a prominent position in the store. There will also be a "prohibition of minors to buy" signs on it, warning minors to buy, but still can't prevent "the road is one foot high, the devil is one foot high", and the flood of online transactions is the source of young people's difficulty in smoking control .

  "The harm of electronic cigarettes to young people is obvious." Chen De, vice president of Shanghai Tobacco Control Association, told The Paper that a large number of marketing methods and various sweet, candy or fruit-flavored flavorings added to electronic cigarettes make electronic cigarettes Cigarettes are doubly attractive to teenagers who are exposed to nicotine and become addicted.

Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and teenage brains develop into their 20s, and nicotine use can have long-term adverse consequences for teenage brain development.

  And a global systematic survey showed that non-smokers under the age of 20 who use e-cigarettes are more than twice as likely to smoke in the future as those who use neither.

  On March 11, the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration announced that it had formed the national standard for "electronic cigarettes" (the second draft for comments), and publicly solicited comments from the public. The draft clearly stipulated that the product characteristics should not be used. The flavor presents flavors other than tobacco.

Does the platform need to take responsibility if the e-cigarette is not removed from the shelves?

  Regarding the frequent illegal transactions of electronic cigarettes on major platforms, The Paper reporters also learned about the relevant countermeasures from the platform.

  Regarding the proliferation of e-cigarette "micro-businesses", the WeChat team replied to the surging news reporter that the use of WeChat to sell tobacco, e-cigarettes, etc. violates relevant national laws and regulations, and is clearly a violation of WeChat platform norms. This has been submitted according to user reports. Evidence is verified and graded.

In addition, for all kinds of malicious violations, WeChat will also carry out various special clean-up work, and conduct centralized special rectification according to the clues reported by users.

  From January 2022 to the present, after a special review of the reported accounts submitted by users, 4,753 related illegal accounts have been identified. Gradient disposals of warning, banning Moments, and banning are respectively imposed.

  WeChat said that it will continue to strengthen the reporting and acceptance of such behaviors in the future, continuously collect samples of various confrontation variants and cryptic language, and do a good job in user education and publicity guidance to keep users away from violations.

  Douyin told The Paper that the platform has been strictly abiding by relevant national laws and regulations, and strictly prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes and related products (including but not limited to product spare parts, atomizer sticks, inhaled energy sticks, etc.) on the platform .

  At the same time, the platform took the initiative to issue a reminder in a prominent position, "It is illegal to sell electronic cigarettes online, and protect minors from electronic cigarettes."

(Search for "electronic cigarette" can be seen); the platform strictly prohibits the behavior of diverting traffic to other platforms for sale through comments.

If found, its account and related content will be strictly dealt with.

  Douyin said that users are welcome to participate in supervision together. If violations are found, users can report them on the site or send details to the mailbox: feedback@douyin.com, and the platform will follow up in time.

  As of press time, other relevant platforms have not responded to the matter.

  Ji Ligang, a professor at Fudan University Law School and a lawyer at Shanghai Siwei Lema Law Firm, told The Paper that they should bear corresponding legal responsibilities for sales platforms that fail to monitor, discourage and stop minors from purchasing e-cigarettes.

  He believes that the "Notice on Further Protecting Minors from Electronic Cigarettes" mentioned that "urging" electronic cigarette production and sales companies or individuals to shut down electronic cigarette Internet sales websites or clients in a timely manner; "urging" e-commerce platforms Close e-cigarette stores in a timely manner and remove e-cigarette products from the shelves in a timely manner; "urge" e-cigarette production and sales companies or individuals to withdraw e-cigarette advertisements published through the Internet.

The "Notice" does not clearly stipulate the responsibility of the platform, and it is still a soft constraint in essence.

  However, according to the relevant provisions of the "Minor Protection Law" that will take effect in 2021, the control of electronic cigarettes has been increased again, and the law has explicitly proposed the prohibition of the sale of cigarettes to minors for the first time.

Among them, Article 59 of the Law on the Protection of Minors stipulates that it is prohibited to sell tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets or redeem lottery prizes to minors.

Tobacco, alcohol and lottery operators shall set up signs in conspicuous positions that they do not sell tobacco, alcohol or lottery tickets to minors; if it is difficult to tell whether they are minors, they shall be required to show their identity documents.

  If the relevant operators violate the above provisions, the regulatory authorities shall order them to make corrections within a time limit, give them warnings, confiscate their illegal gains, and impose a fine of not more than 50,000 yuan; if they refuse to make corrections or the circumstances are serious, they shall be ordered to suspend business for rectification or revoke their business licenses and relevant permits. A fine of not less than 50,000 yuan but not more than 500,000 yuan may be imposed concurrently.

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