E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people, yet hundreds of e-cigarette manufacturers operating in China are almost unregulated. Experts said that heavy metals, carcinogens, and dangerous compounds of lead, tin, and zinc that have been detected in some electronic cigarettes may be related to defective or negligent production processes.
One study found that the content of harmful substances nickel and chromium in e-cigarette steam is four times that of traditional cigarette smoke; another study found that half of the e-cigarettes sampled are faulty, and some e-cigarettes will emit steam containing silicon fiber .
Earlier in the United States, there were reports of overheating of lithium batteries or chargers that caused e-cigarette explosions, which caused burns.
"We need to understand what e-cigarettes are made of," said Avrum Spira, a lung specialist at Boston University School of Medicine. "In order to understand this, we need to understand its production process."
The New York Times survey on the production and operation of e-cigarettes in Shenzhen shows that many factories are legally produced and are striving to strengthen quality control. However, some factories are low-end operations, and some of them do not have safety testing equipment and some specialize in forging famous brands. Products, usually using cheap parts. The New York Times visited several factories in Shenzhen, including a counterfeit workshop in a garage, and another factory showed products that counterfeit e-cigarette brands "Russian 91%". The factory owner said that these products will be sold To the United States.
The development path of China's e-cigarette industry is different from industries such as toys, clothing and smartphones. In those industries, international brands outsource production tasks to China, but they will oversee and implement quality control standards. Chinese companies first developed e-cigarettes, and they did so in the absence of regulation. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just begun to prepare for the control of e-cigarettes, formulating regulations to force manufacturers in China and elsewhere to provide ingredient lists and production process details.
But analysts say it will take years to develop regulations and new production guidelines. At the same time, Chinese factories are accelerating their pace, hoping to make profits and gain market share before being watched by regulators. Regulatory measures may force many e-cigarette manufacturers to close their doors.
"This is a very chaotic industry," said Zhuang Zhiqiang, deputy general manager of Shanghai Tobacco and Spice Company Huabao International and an expert in China's e-cigarette market. "I hope that this industry will be effectively controlled soon."
Unlike the imitation workshop, Shenzhen's largest e-cigarette production plant is relatively clean, with rows of workers sitting on plastic stools, next to a fast-moving assembly line.
In 2004, Han Li, a Chinese physician, participated in the development of an electronic cigarette, which was later sold through his company, Beijing Ruyan Company. Other manufacturers followed, and by 2009, as e-cigarettes became increasingly popular in the United States and Europe, more and more e-cigarette factories came into being.
This craze has made China the birthplace of a new product—some people call it an innovative product. However, the Chinese government has not played a role in the development of this industry, nor has it supervised. Just like in the West, China’s tobacco authorities—both regulators and the leading state-owned producer of cigarettes and tobacco products—are not considered to be food, medicine, or even tobacco products. Products caught off guard.