Retail

Alibaba to stop sales of e-cigarette components in the US

Key Points
  • Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba said it will stop selling e-cigarette components in the United States.
  • The move comes amid growing regulatory scrutiny and reports of lung disease and some deaths linked to vaping.
  • Alibaba said it already had a long-standing policy in place to not sell complete e-cigarette products in the United States.
A person uses a Juul Labs electronic cigarette device in San Francisco, on Monday, June 24, 2019.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba said on Wednesday it will stop selling e-cigarette components in the United States, amid growing regulatory scrutiny and reports of lung disease and some deaths linked to vaping.

The move follows announcements by Kroger and Walgreens Boots Alliance this week that they would stop selling e-cigarettes at their stores, in line with a similar decision by Walmart.

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

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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Alibaba 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 United States.

While Juul Labs dominates the North American market for pod e-cigarettes, many reports of death and injury in the United States have been tied to makeshift brands with no identifiable owner.

The most prominent, Dank Vapes, was linked to 24 patients with lung illness, according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine. The products contained THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Prior to the suspension, buyers could easily purchase devices, component parts and packaging from sites like Alibaba or Amazon to make their own counterfeit vaping devices.

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

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Key Points
  • Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., is introducing a bill that would cap the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes.
  • The legislation would limit e-cigarettes to contain no more than 20 milligrams per milliliter of nicotine.
  • Krishnamoorthi and a House subcommittee are investigating Juul's role in fueling a teen vaping "epidemic."