$101M Products Seized After Shenzhen Strengthens E-cig Regulation

China Shenzhen Tobacco Monopoly Bureau, public security, market supervision, and other departments have investigated and dealt with more than 50 e-cigarette cases and seized more than 1.6 million illegal disposable e-cigarettes, 260,000 e-cigarette sets, and more than 890,000 electronic cigarette cartridges adding up to nearly 101 million USD.
$101M Products Seized After Shenzhen Strengthens E-cig Regulation


World Consumer Rights Day is on March 15. Many markets have taken action to expand consumer rights protection publicity and promote consumer rights protection.


The Tobacco Monopoly Bureaus in Shenzhen carried out various educational activities, for example, setting up publicity consultation desks, distributing promotional materials, on-site consultation, explanations, etc. The Tobacco Monopoly Bureau aims to educate on legal facts and counterfeit cigarettes to the general public, and promote the harm of illicit e-cigarette products such as the "Boba cup" (disposables shaped like a boba cup) or the "Coke Can" (disposables shaped like a can of coke).


A reporter from Southern Metropolis Daily noted that the e-cigarette market had developed rapidly in recent years. Shenzhen has become a gathering place for the global e-cigarette industry. To protect the healthy growth of minors, and rectify the chaotic nature of the e-cigarette market, the Shenzhen Tobacco Monopoly Bureau plans to strengthen the supervision of the e-cigarette market to severely crack down on illegal and criminal activities involving e-cigarettes.


Since the transition period of e-cigarette supervision, the Shenzhen Tobacco Monopoly Bureau, in conjunction with public security, market supervision, and other departments, has continued to intensify its crackdown. As a result, more than 50 e-cigarette cases have been investigated. More than 1.6 million illegal one-time e-cigarettes, more than 260,000 e-cigarettes, and more than 890,000 e-cigarette bombs have been seized. The amount involved is nearly $101 million. Among them, 28 cases of counterfeit electronic cigarettes and more than 850,000 fake electronic cigarettes were seized. Furthermore, 16 cases of"Boba cup" and "Coke Can"  and 1.07 million related illegal electronic cigarette products were seized.


Comprehensively Strengthen the Supervision of the E-cigarette market:

Investigated and Dealt with More than 50 E-cigarette Cases Involving nearly $101 million


In 2022, relevant policies such as the "Administrative Measures for Electronic Cigarettes" and "Electronic Cigarettes" national standards have been promulgated and implemented, opening a new era of compliant development of electronic cigarettes. Furthermore, under the requirements of protecting minors from tobacco infringement and the development of industry norms, from October 1, 2022, policies and regulations explicitly prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes other than tobacco flavors and e-cigarettes that can add aerosols by themselves.


As the regulation of e-cigarettes continues to be strengthened, new e-cigarette products with relatively novel appearances, such as "Boba Cups," "Coke Cans," and "Cute Tiger Cups," exploit regulatory loopholes to make illegal profits. The quality of this kind of e-cigarette product is uneven and unsafe. Also, its appearance is confusing, making it very easy to lure minors to smoke, seriously threatening their physical and mental health. At the same time, some uncertified enterprises have transferred to the "underground" to carry out illegal production and operation activities. For example, some counterfeit brands of well-known e-cigarette manufacturers disrupt the order of the e-cigarette market and endanger consumers' lives, health, legality, rights, and interests.


To effectively rectify the e-cigarette market's order and protect minors' healthy growth, the Shenzhen Tobacco Monopoly Bureau and the Shenzhen Municipal Market Supervision Bureau jointly launched a special campaign to clean up and rectify the e-cigarette market "protecting minors." As a result, the city's tobacco monopoly department and market supervision department have dispatched thousands of law enforcement personnel to conduct a full-coverage inspection of the e-cigarette retail market in the jurisdiction, comprehensively clean up illegal e-cigarette products, urge retailers to sell compliant products, and implement age verification regulations, set warning signs for the protection of minors, and carry out business activities under laws and regulations.


To severe crackdown on illegal and criminal activities involving electronic cigarettes, on November 23, 2022, the e-cigarette team of Futian District Tobacco Monopoly Bureau, jointly with the District Public Security Bureau and the District Municipal Supervision Bureau, seized a batch of illegal e-cigarettes at the e-cigarette retail store on Shatou Street and the store in Huaqiangbei Commercial District. As a result, 4,167 electronic illicit cigarette products, such as "Boba cups" and "Coke Cans," were seized. The express delivery involved Zhejiang, Sichuan, and other provinces. This case is the first time Shenzhen has been charged with illegal operation of non-national standard fruity e-cigarettes, such as "Boba cups" and "Coke Cans", in the retail market since the normalization of e-cigarette supervision.


On February 3 this year, the Baoan District Tobacco Monopoly Bureau and the public security department destroyed A total of 7 production, storage, and sales sites of 4 enterprises involved in the case were dismantled. Overall, 731,200 illegally produced tobacco bombs, 2700 smoking utensils, 374,900 disposable electronic cigarettes, and 513 kg of tobacco oil were seized, involving multiple specifications of illegal fruit-flavored tobacco bombs, "Boba cups" and "Coke Cans". The physical case value exceeded 66 million yuan, and the total case value was as high as 376 million yuan.


Forming a High-pressure and Strict Management Situation:

Severely crackdown on illegal activities related to tobacco and eliminate the source of counterfeit cigarettes in the retail market


Shenzhen is one of the central cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. It has prosperous commercial activities, convenient land, sea, and air transportation, a developed logistics delivery system, numerous cross-border port terminals, frequent population movements, and complex tobacco-related illegal activities. Some illegal elements seeking illegal interests produce and sell fake and shoddy tobacco products, seriously damaging the national interests and consumers' legitimate rights and interests.


Counterfeit cigarettes lead to the loss of national revenue and often use moldy and deteriorated tobacco leaf raw materials. In addition, the production environment and process are too simple, the production sanitation conditions are poor, the tar content seriously exceeds the standard, and a variety of harmful substances may even be added, which poses a severe threat to consumers' physical and mental health.


The Shenzhen Tobacco Monopoly Bureau has always maintained a high-pressure situation in the market supervision work and severely cracked down on illegal tobacco-related activities. A Finance and Economics Department reporter of Southern Metropolis Daily said that since 2022, the city has investigated and dealt with more than 1,300 tobacco-related cases and seized more than 44 million counterfeit cigarettes and 12 tons of shredded tobacco leaves. The value of counterfeit cigarettes involved in the case was more than 37 million yuan.


To clear the source of counterfeit cigarettes in the retail market and achieve the goal of "Strike the Internet, Break the Chain, and Catch the Main Culprit," the Shenzhen Tobacco Monopoly Bureau insists on intelligence-guided investigations, uses information technology to strengthen clue analysis and judgment, continuously improves combat and investigation techniques and tactics, and cooperates with relevant departments. The department seized several influential major cases, took down several counterfeit cigarette storage and distribution dens, and effectively purified the cigarette market environment in Shenzhen.


It is worth noting that dialing the 12313 hotline service is an effective way for consumers to protect their legitimate rights and interests. It is reported that the Shenzhen sub-center of the 12313 hotlines will have 44,800 incoming calls and accept 34,800 valid work orders in 2022. In addition, 478 cases were verified and filed through the 12313 hotlines Shenzhen sub-center, and 2.61 million counterfeit cigarettes were seized, effectively playing the role of social supervision.


According to statistics, since the Shenzhen sub-center of the 12313 hotlines was officially launched, it has been open 24 hours a day throughout the year, listening to the voices of the people and doing practical things. As a result, 40,500 work orders have been received, and timely responses to the mass demands have effectively built a bridge to serve the people.


While intensifying crackdowns, the tobacco monopoly departments at the Shenzhen and district levels actively took advantage of opportunities such as "3.15" and "12.4" legal publicity days to carry out publicity and education on tobacco monopoly laws, regulations, and policies. It also publicized the 12313 hotlines and provisions on Reporting Rewards. This encourages the public to supervise the tobacco market and effectively creates a good social atmosphere for everyone's participation.


Reference: 深圳全面强化电子烟市场监管,查办电子烟涉案金额近7亿


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