Influx of Unauthorized E-Cigarettes from China Floods US Market

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US authorities are taking action to seize more unauthorized e-cigarette shipments while a surge of new products from China continues.

According to a report by the Associated Press on December 31, 2023, US authorities are taking action to seize more unauthorized e-cigarette products. However, a large number of new products from China continue to flood the American market.

According to government and industry data, this signifies that the status of e-cigarettes in the American market is highly chaotic, with a value reaching $7 billion.

According to data compiled by Circana Analytics, the number of unique e-cigarette products sold in the American market has exceeded 11,500, marking a 27% increase compared to the 9,000 varieties available in June of this year.

Psychologist Bonnie Halpern-Felsher from Stanford University warns that if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States bans a certain product, manufacturers simply make slight adjustments and reintroduce it into the market, making it easily accessible for children.

According to sales data collected from gas stations, convenience stores, and other locations, disposable e-cigarettes dominated the market for new products, generating a sales revenue of $3.2 billion in the first 11 months of this year. The FDA has authorized certain e-cigarette products targeting adults and is currently examining the products of several major companies, including Juul.

Regulatory authorities argue that almost all other e-cigarettes are considered illegal. Despite record-breaking seizures of these products, e-cigarette sales continue to rise.

According to the FDA’s database, the United States rejected 148 containers of products containing tobacco from entering the country last month, nearly all of which were e-cigarette products from China. Typically, imported goods that are denied entry are destroyed. As of November, US authorities have rejected 374 such goods this year, compared to only 118 by this time last year.

In July 2022, the FDA banned several dozen e-cigarette flavors manufactured by Chinese manufacturer Fume, including Pineapple Ice and Blue Razz. Despite a decline in sales following the ban, the company introduced new products and recorded $42 million in sales in the third quarter of 2023, with 98% of sales coming from products not listed by the FDA.

The transportation methods in the industry have also raised doubts about the effectiveness of import restrictions. In July of this year, FDA and customs officials seized illegal e-cigarettes worth $18 million, including the leading brand Elf Bar. However, these goods were labeled as shoes, toys, and other items, rather than e-cigarettes, which forced officials to open more than 24 shipping containers for individual checks.

The FDA has not yet set a timetable for updating its import list, but has noted that it is closely monitoring cases of companies attempting to evade detection. King of the FDA stated, “The FDA has various means to take action against these tactics.

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