Alibaba Halts Sales of Vape Components to the US

Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba (Source: Nopparat Khokthong / Shutterstock.com)

Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba announced on October 9 that the company will stop selling e-cigarette components in the US amid growing regulatory scrutiny and reports of lung disease and deaths linked to vaping.

Vaping products have been linked to a mysterious lung illness that is reported to have led to 18 deaths as of last week, with the number of confirmed and probable cases of the condition exceeding 1,000, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Alibaba said it already had a long-standing policy to not sell complete e-cigarette products in the US.

Alibaba Group said that listings for products such as box mods, vape pens, herbal vapors, heat-not-burn devices and empty pod cartridges would not be displayed for users located in the US.

In China, the e-cigarette industry is growing and new brands are popping up frequently. For example, the 4th annual Beijing Vape Expo in 2018 welcomed 300 exhibitors and over 30,000 visitors to the event.

E-cigarette users in China make up about 1%, roughly 13 million, of the Chinese population. Chinese state media has announced that the government is considering implementing new policies to regulate vape usage. However, vaping companies, both Chinese and foreign, have received massive support from venture capitalists despite regulatory uncertainties.

Amazon.com Inc also took down vape paraphernalia in September, although it did not specify the exact products it removed.