The two top Chinese online retailers, Alibaba and JD.com, have stopped selling e-cigarettes and accessories to users in the US, as health concerns over vaping are increasing over a mysterious lung illness that reportedly has been linked to 18 deaths.
Alibaba and JD.com’s move is in line with the footsteps of pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance, grocery chain Kroger Co and supermarket Walmart, who announced that they would stop selling such devices at their stores.
Since October 10, vaping products have not been displayed to customers in the US on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform and orders shipped to the US are blocked. At the same time, JD.com took a similar measure, according to a report from Chinese news portal The Paper.
The sales in the Chinese domestic market will not be affected by this policy.
US e-cigarette giant Juul Labs has been undergoing a setback, as it’s facing investigations by the US Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission. Regulators are examining whether the company illegally promoted its devices, targeting also minors, as healthier than cigarettes,
The state of New York recently banned flavored e-cigarettes from store shelves, amid increasing underage vaping issues and the breathing illnesses tied to it, while the Trump administration is promoting a law to ban all flavored vapes in the country.
Juul’s overseas market expansion also hit obstacles. In September, one week after the official launch of the firm’s online storefronts in China, its products were pulled off without any explanations, KrASIA reported.
In China, the world’s largest market for tobacco consumption, Juul’s main competitors, such as Relx, Yooz, and Vvild, have snagged billions of dollars from investors, KrASIA reported.
However, the spree might cool down, as Beijing is about to come up with stricter legislation to supervise the country’s burgeoning e-cigarette sector, industry watchers said. A national standard about e-cigarettes is set to release in October.