In terms of value, China’s e-cigarette market has become the world’s third-largest. However, unlike other major markets such as the US and the UK, China’s market size is not reflected in the local vaping rates. This is a troubling reality given that China has the world’s highest smoking rates and therefore a trend to move to safer alternatives would be massively beneficial.
The study titled, “Reasons why Chinese smokers prefer not to use electronic cigarettes,” gathered cross-sectional data from the Tobacco Questions for Surveys (TQS) conducted in four large Chinese cities (Chengdu, Wuhan, Xiamen, and Xi’an) between 2017 and 2018.
“The top three reasons that Chinese adult smokers reported for never having tried e-cigarettes were: ‘I do not want to quit smoking’ (35.35%), ‘I do not think they would help me quit or cut down’ (24.31%), and ‘I am not addicted to smoking and don’t need help to quit’ (14.93%). Other prominent reasons included: ‘I am concerned they are not safe enough’, and ‘I do not want to substitute one addiction for another’,” reported the researchers.
In light of these findings, the researchers concluded that Chinese smokers associate e-cigarette use with smoking cessation, and hence find the products unappealing.
Key aspects of the Chinese vape market
Meanwhile, a recent report by ECigIntelligence, the renowned independent data analysis resource for the tobacco-alternatives industry, looked into the “key aspects and drivers of the current Chinese market.” Amongst several factors, the document listed changes in consumer preferences, the roles of different retail channels and how they are changing, and also pointed out the main players in the industry.
The release “provides a comprehensive examination of the commercial, legal and political situation for e-cigarettes in China, and an evaluation of likely scenarios for market development.” Amongst other things, it highlighted the fact that China’s market faces specific challenges due to the local tobacco monopoly, leaves the vaping industry in a vague grey area.