Disposables Accounted for 74% of China’s Total Vape Exports to the U.S. in 2023’s First Half

According to statistics released by Chinese customs, China’s total exports amounted to 1.489 billion US dollars, accounting for 27.15% of the total exports and showing a 2.2% decrease compared to the previous year. Additionally, the exports of disposable vapes are estimated to have reached a value of $1.1 billion, representing approximately 74% of China’s total vapes exports to the United States.

This information is not surprising as the United States has been expressing concerns regarding the significant influx of disposable vapes from China. Moreover, recent media coverage has been dominated by reports about a new wave of products originating from China, disguised as school supplies. These deceptive products resemble highlighters, USBs, ballpoint pens, and even phones. The news reports highlight that these disposable vapes come in various child-friendly flavors and are unregulated.

Revised Regulations on Exports

In November 2022, the STMA (State Tobacco Monopoly Administration) introduced new regulations on the export of vaping products, specifically targeting the quantity of products, aerosol levels, and nicotine content. The STMA, in collaboration with the State Post Bureau, issued a joint statement stating that individuals are allowed to carry a maximum of six smoking devices in different locations simultaneously. The number of vape cartridges should not exceed 90, and the combination of e-cigarette cartridges and cigarette devices should also not exceed 90. Additionally, the total volume of e-liquids, including e-atomization materials, must not exceed 180 milliliters.

In terms of exports, each shipment is limited to two sets of vape products, including 6 cartridges or devices containing cartridges. The total liquid volume of these cartridges should not exceed 12 milliliters. Furthermore, the limit for aerosols, such as e-liquids, is set at 12 milliliters per piece. Additionally, the delivery of vape devices, cartridges, and e-liquids is restricted to one unit per person per day.

Impact of New Regulations on Chinese Brands

Consequently, the limitations imposed have had a negative impact on Chinese consumer brands, leading to a decline in their shares. Notably, a shareholder of the Chinese brand Relx has taken legal action in the United States against the Chinese e-cigarette manufacturer. The lawsuit alleges that the company failed to consider forthcoming Chinese regulations when applying for its initial public offering (IPO) in October 2020. Investor Alex Garnett, as reported by ECigIntelligence, claims that RLX did not disclose the potential risks associated with China’s endeavor to align vape regulations with those governing cigarettes.