Last updated: December 20, 2022

Main Policies

Sale of e-cigarettes

Sale of e-cigarettes

Allowed
Analysis

The law allows for the sale of e-cigarettes subject to several restrictions including a minimum sales age; a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, other than tobacco flavor; a ban on sales near certain education facilities; and a ban on sales through vending machines and the internet.

Main policies

Use in indoor public places, workplaces, and public transport

Some Restrictions
Analysis

The Law on the Protection of Minors provides that smoking is prohibited in schools, kindergartens, and other public venues where minors gather. The use of the phrase "including e-cigarettes, as below" in Art. 17(4) indicates that the rest of the provisions in the Law on the Protection of Minors addressing tobacco products also include e-cigarettes. Thus, the ban on smoking in schools, kindergartens, and other public venues where minors gather in Art. 59 also includes the use of e-cigarettes in these locations.

Sub-national jurisdictions have the authority to implement local smoke free policies. Numerous cities have passed laws regulating the use of e-cigarettes in indoor public places, indoor workplaces, and on public transport.

Advertising and promotion (excluding point of sale product display)

Some Restrictions
Analysis

The relevant tobacco advertising laws are applied to e-cigarettes, which prohibit tobacco advertising in mass media, public places, means of public transport, and outdoors. Exhibitions, forums and expos promoting e-cigarettes are also specifically prohibited. In addition, Circular No. 1 of 2019 and SAMR Order No. 72 of 2023 prohibit the online advertising of e-cigarettes.

Point of sale product display

Allowed
Analysis

The law does not address point of sale product display of e-cigarettes; therefore, point of sale product display is allowed.

Sale of e-cigarettes via the internet

Banned
Analysis

The law prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes on information networks other than through a national e-cigarette transaction management platform used by manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and licensed retailers, which is managed by the State Council’s tobacco monopoly authority.

In addition, Circular No. 1 of 2019 prohibits the online sale of e-cigarettes. Enforcement authorities are implementing this notice.

Flavors (other than tobacco flavor)

Banned
Analysis

The law bans the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, other than tobacco flavor. Export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of the destination country. If there are none, export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of China.

Specified ingredients/additives

Regulated
Analysis

The law prohibits substances that are 1) carcinogenic, mutagenic, reproductively toxic, or toxic to the respiratory system; 2) additives and stimulants related to energy and vitality; 3) substances that may give consumers a misconception of health benefits or harm reduction; and 4) substances that are used for dyeing purposes only. Further, additives used must not increase the health risks under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, be technically essential, be minimized after the expected result is achieved, should not be used to flavor the product to be attractive to minors, or be used to cover up the product’s spoilage or other quality defects. Additives permitted for use in e-cigarettes are set out in Annex A of the National Standard for E-cigarettes. Non-nicotine e-cigarettes and synthetic nicotine e-cigarettes are also prohibited. Export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of the destination country. If there are none, export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of China.

Health warnings on product packaging

Required
Analysis

The law requires text-only health warnings to occupy no less than 35% of the lower part of the front and back of e-cigarette packaging, which should be rotated. In total, three messages are approved - one for the front, and two for the back. The two messages for the back can be displayed alternatively. The three groups of health warnings include, "Notes of the company" in conjunction with the following messages:

Group 1: Smoking e-cigarettes is harmful to health. Please do not smoke e-cigarettes in places where smoking is prohibited.
Group 2: Quitting e-cigarettes as soon as possible is good for health. Quitting e-cigarettes can reduce the health hazards.
Group 3: Dissuade the minors from smoking e-cigarettes and prohibit primary and secondary school students from smoking e-cigarettes.

The warnings should be rotated annually. Export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of the destination country. If there are none, export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of China.

Other product packaging and labeling requirements

Required
Analysis

Misleading terms such as "health and fitness," "efficacy," "safety," "environmental protection," "low harm," "harm reduction," "smoking cessation," "replacement," "high quality," "performance enhancement," "satisfaction and joy," "no harm to the body” and "light, super light, soft, low tar, no tar, low nicotine" as well as flavor-related terms are prohibited.

Under the National Standards for E-cigarettes, nicotine content and concentration, e-liquid volume, and other ingredients and their quantities must be displayed on packaging. Export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of the destination country. If there are none, export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of China.

Maximum nicotine concentration

Required
Analysis

The law requires the nicotine concentration in e-liquids to be less than 20 mg/ml. Export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of the destination country. If there are none, export products shall comply with the legal requirements and standards of China.

Device requirements

Required
Analysis

The law prohibits the sale of e-cigarette products that allow users to add their own e-liquid to a device. The National Standards for E-cigarettes also set out certain device requirements, requiring that devices are filling proof, leak proof, child proof, and have protection against accidental start-up.

Manufacturer/importer disclosures and/or notification requirements

Required
Analysis

The State Council’s tobacco monopoly authority has the authority for the national supervision and management of e-cigarettes, which includes the technical review of products as well as licensing of manufacturers, wholesalers, importers and sellers. Further, the establishment of any e-cigarette manufacturers, nicotine producers or e-liquid producers are subject to the State Council’s tobacco monopoly authority examination and approval prior to entering the market.