Xinhua News Agency, Guiyang, May 30 -

Question: under Multiple ban the electronic cigarette business is still "hunting" Youth!

  Xinhua News Agency "Xinhua Viewpoint" reporter

  A pendant that resembles a USB flash drive is hung on his chest. From time to time, he takes off the kit, takes two puffs, and then puffs up the fog... Nowadays, smoking e-cigarettes is regarded as fashionable by some teenagers.

  On May 26, the National Health Commission released the "Report on the Health Risks of Smoking in China 2020" that the use of e-cigarettes may be more likely to cause people to smoke cigarettes. This phenomenon is particularly obvious among young people.

  Since 2018, the state has issued a number of bans to protect minors from e-cigarettes.

However, a reporter from "Xinhua Viewpoint" found that under the multiple bans, there are still businesses that have changed their tactics to hunt young people.

The youth group is seen as the industry's continued growth potential

  A study of more than 90,000 teenagers showed that the risk of teenagers becoming cigarette users after using e-cigarettes is 2.21 times that of those who have never used e-cigarettes.

  Since 2018, the State Administration for Market Regulation and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration have successively issued a number of prohibitions, prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, the sale of e-cigarettes via the Internet, or the publication of e-cigarette advertisements via the Internet.

  However, data released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020 show that 69.9% of middle school students in early 2019 had heard of e-cigarettes, and the use rate of e-cigarettes was 2.7%, an increase of 24.9 and 1.5 respectively compared with 2014. percentage point.

  In 2019, after the State Administration for Market Supervision and Administration and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration issued a ban on online sales of e-cigarettes, there were market predictions that the industry was about to usher in a cliff-like decline.

  However, it is not.

According to data released by iiMedia.com, Chinese e-cigarette companies have grown rapidly from 45,457 in 2013 to 168,452 in 2020.

As of February 4, 2021, there are 174,399 remaining e-cigarette companies in China, continuing the momentum of rapid growth.

  Many people in the industry pointed out that the growth in demand from young people has become the potential for the continued growth of the e-cigarette industry.

  Reporters visited Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other cities and found that many merchants disguised e-cigarettes as fashionable toys for sale, diluting the attributes of “smoke”.

“The top e-cigarettes in sales volume are mostly beautiful and fun. Students like to play with them when they see them, and they can open and take a sip from time to time.” An e-cigarette sales store in Guangzhou Said the person in charge.

  According to the "China Smoking Harm to Health Report 2020", it is generally believed that "flavored" is one of the important reasons for attracting young people to try e-cigarettes.

The results of the latest American survey of teenagers in 2019 show that among the current teenagers who use e-cigarettes, an estimated 72.2% of high school students and 59.2% of junior high school students have used flavored e-cigarettes, of which fruit, menthol or mint, and candy flavors are the most common .

  “After adolescents smoke e-cigarettes, they often transition to traditional tobacco and become addicted to cigarettes.” said Zhang Ke, an associate researcher at the Guizhou Academy of Social Sciences.

  In addition, e-cigarettes themselves can also have a negative impact on the physical and mental health of young people.

The 2016 report on the use of e-cigarettes in adolescents in the "Report of the Director of Health of the United States" showed that the nicotine in e-cigarettes affects the brain development of adolescents, and that adolescent use can affect the attention, learning, mood swings and impulse control of adolescents.

Change tricks and commit crimes

  Some minors reported to reporters that when they asked the e-cigarette sales customer service "Can I buy at 16", the other party answered "Yes."

Some students asked whether e-cigarettes could help quit smoking, and got a positive answer from the customer service of "Yes, you try first".

  The reporter found that searching for the keyword "e-cigarette" on e-commerce platforms such as Taobao and Pinduoduo did not show any search results.

But when the keywords are replaced with other related words, e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories with different colors and styles appear.

  When a reporter asked how to buy e-cigarettes as a consumer, an online store customer service replied: "According to relevant policies, online sales of e-cigarette-related products are suspended, and online is charging box accessories. Please add WeChat xxxxx for details."

  Following the prompts, the reporter added several WeChat accounts provided by the customer service of several online stores, and successively received various introductions about the flavors, prices, and differences of e-cigarettes.

However, the store does not ask for information such as the age and identity of the buyer.

At the same time, he said: "Taobao is a guarantee, and the products are selected here." "Many stores are closed on the Internet, so electronic cigarettes are traded on WeChat."

  Many e-cigarette brands deceive consumers with "safe and assured", "non-toxic and harmless, low-toxicity and low-harm" advertisements, and often appear in front of young people as "an artifact of smoking cessation" and "traditional tobacco substitutes".

An e-cigarette shop advertised that "derived emissions are about 8% of traditional tobacco, which can reduce harm to the human body by 95%."

  A doctor from the Second Respiratory Department of the Affiliated Hospital of Hebei University of Engineering said that some e-cigarettes have high nicotine content, even higher than ordinary cigarettes.

In order to increase the dependence of smokers on e-cigarettes, many e-cigarette manufacturers on the market arbitrarily increase the nicotine content in e-cigarettes.

  A research result of the Zhengzhou Tobacco Research Institute of the China National Tobacco Corporation showed that the nicotine content of the 544 e-cigarette samples was significantly different from the actual content, and the deviation range was -100% to 105%.

For example, the nicotine content of the e-cigarette label of a sample is 6mg/cart, but the detected value is 12.3mg/cart.

  Ye Xianwei, director of the Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Guizhou Provincial People’s Hospital, said: “E-cigarette merchants claim that there is only 2% nicotine, but they can’t confirm how much it is, and they don’t know if there are new harmful ingredients.

Promote the formulation of relevant management regulations and national standards for e-cigarettes as soon as possible

  The reporter learned from a consultation on the official website of an e-cigarette brand that to open a specialty store, in addition to the store rent, the investment needs 50,000 to 150,000 yuan, and the gross profit is 40% to 50%.

To operate an authorized store, as long as it meets the condition that the store address needs to be more than 150 meters away from the kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, children's palace and other minor concentrated areas, and the monthly purchase volume needs to be more than 300 yuan.

  The person in charge of an e-cigarette manufacturer in Shenzhen told reporters that the profit of operating e-cigarettes is relatively high. An e-cigarette with an actual production cost of about 40 yuan generally sells for more than 260 yuan on the market.

  Who will supervise the sales of e-cigarettes?

In March of this year, the "Decision on Amending the Implementation Regulations of the Tobacco Monopoly Law of the People's Republic of China" (draft for comments) drafted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration stipulated that: e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products refer to these regulations Implementation of relevant regulations on cigarettes.

This means that if the opinion is passed, e-cigarettes will be supervised by the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration.

  "We support the inclusion of e-cigarettes in supervision, but the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration is essentially performing the corporate functions of the China National Tobacco Corporation and is not suitable for e-cigarette supervision." said Zhang Jianshu, president of the Beijing Smoking Control Association.

  It is worth noting that the national standards for electronic cigarettes have not been promulgated as scheduled.

According to the official website of the National Standardization Administration, the national standard plan "Electronic Cigarette" issued in October 2017 is currently in the "review" stage. The national standard plan issued in December 2017 "Electronic Cigarette Liquid Nicotine, Propylene Glycol and Glycine The "Gas Chromatography Method for the Determination of Alcohol" has entered the approval stage, and the planned implementation dates for the two are March 2019 and January 2019 respectively.

  Zhang Ke said that it is recommended to advance the formulation of relevant management regulations and national standards for e-cigarettes as soon as possible, and establish a related sampling inspection system, so that law enforcement agencies have rules to follow and laws to follow.

  Zhang Ke said that it is necessary to conduct special investigations and monitoring of the use of e-cigarettes by young people at the national level, analyze the key factors affecting the use of e-cigarettes by young people, and formulate more targeted prevention and control measures.

At the same time, the harm of e-cigarettes should be widely popularized among all teachers and students in middle and high schools, positively refuting the fallacy of "e-cigarettes are safe and harmless" and "e-cigarette smoking can quit smoking", and guide young people to refuse e-cigarettes and stay away from e-cigarettes.

(Reporters Oudianqiu, Jiang Cheng, Yang Xin, Song Chen)

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