(ECNS) - China plans to regulate electronic cigarettes by introducing a national standard possibly next month, a bid to address concerns over the product's harmful effects.
A committee at State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA) began the regulation-making process in October 2017 in cooperation with several research institutes in Shanghai, Zhengzhou City and Yunnan Province. The new regulation could be released in October.
An insider said the standard includes e-cigarette devices, tobacco liquid, exterior packaging, the concentration of content and amount of additives. It also takes into consideration standards in other countries.
The draft regulation has been submitted to the Standardization Administration of China for approval and publication. Once released, it will regulate industry development and improve smoker safety.
According to a survey released by Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of e-cigarette usage, also known as vaping, among Chinese is relatively low, but has doubled since 2015. China banned the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18 in August 2018.
In July, the National Health Commission said studies have shown the aerosol generated by e-cigarettes contains toxic elements, while various additives pose health risks to users. The NHC has been conducting joint research with other departments on the issue.
The e-cigarette industry attracted a flood of investment in China, with 35 deals in the first half of this year alone following total investment last year of at least 1 billion yuan ($140 million), according to a recent study.
Fang Hui, a co-partner of an e-cigarette brand in China, said products on the market vary greatly in quality while some are produced by the same manufacturer of different brands.