China is putting an end to the online sale of electronic cigarettes, including vaping hardware and liquids, over concerns it has on the health and mental wellbeing of the nation’s youth. The decision follows an ongoing outbreak of a lung disease linked to vaping in the United States, as well as a crackdown on marketing and sales believed to be targeted at minors.
The decision to end online sales of vaping products was made in order to prevent teens from acquiring the gear, according to Reuters, which reports that China’s tobacco regulator sent out a request to businesses asking them to end online sales. The notice first appeared on the website belonging to state-owned company China Tobacco.
The notice sent to the nation’s tobacco companies expresses an intent to protect minors from the risks of vaping. It appears electronic cigarettes will remain available to purchase from physical retail stores in the nation, where it will be harder for youth to acquire the goods.
The decision comes amid a crackdown on electronic cigarettes taking place in the US, where the issue is two-fold: there’s an ongoing investigation to uncover the cause of a deadly lung condition manifesting in some vapers, plus the FDA is working to get most flavored vaping products pulled from sale.
Public health officials have expressed concerns that some companies are targeting minors by using colorful packaging that may feature cartoon-like illustrations, among other things. As well, flavors related to junk food like candy, soda, and other sugary products are more appealing to youth than alternatives like tobacco flavor.