Vape Radio 86: Understanding the Asian and Far East Vape Market (Part II)

February 23, 2017

This is part II of our interview with Keller and Heckman LLP law partner, David Ettinger, speaking to us from Shanghai. Our last show, VAPE radio #85, covered China, and this show expands into Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Russia and other areas as well.

It will be an eye opener since you will get a deep, deep dive into the vape market overseas. Be sure you catch our prior show to learn about China proper. See the long list of topics we covered below.

Ettinger has lived in Shanghai for 4 years and follows the market there every day.

There was so much information to cover that I asked him to keep going, so thanks for joining us on Part II.

What you’ll hear today:

  • Countries with NO specific vaping laws usually fall under the category of general consumer law. Some MAY fall under tobacco laws.
  • Some countries treat vaping (and products) under pharma guidelines or medical devices
  • Hong Kong: nicotine is officially classified as a poison. That means it must be registered and controlled. They are pharma products, but can be sold over the counter. VERY stiff fines if not registered.
  • You can hear (and see) see David’s presentation as part of the 12 hour Keller and Heckman Symposium
  • Japan: IQOS (Phillip Morris) has changed the face of smoking. It is a “heat, not burn” product (worth knowing!!), AKA leaf vaporizers (insert picture)
  • This is an easier transition from tobacco, rather than vaping
  • This product has captured 5% of the smoking market in just a few years and will submit for PMTA approval
  • Japan also has a monopoly through the Ministry of Finance and Japan Tobacco, but less than before. The Ministry has been selling shares to generate revenue, but must own 33.3%
  • South Korea: very liberal vape laws, but expensive (heavily taxed), no official and specific regulation of vaping. That may change soon.
  • Heat not burn there big, as well.
  • SE Asian (Thailand): vaping imports are banned, ditto Vietnam, but black market exists
  • Philippines, not regulated, though under investigation, and major manufacturer of vaping products
  • Australia: nicotine is a poison (like Hong Kong) and highly regulated
  • New South Wales: also illegal, must be approved by government and registered (but none are)
  • New Zealand: can import for “personal use”, but limited supply
  • Middle East: Kuwait is unregulated, ditto Bahrain.
  • Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAR: vaping banned. Importation for personal use, not advised
  • Israel: not banned, may be worth watching
  • Russia, not a tobacco product, not regulated by federal government, but may have restrictions more locally

FREE FDA mini course! Access it at:

A we wrap this up we talked about the adoption of vaping into the mainstream. There is a learning curve and it sometimes takes a long time to get over the fear of new technology.

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That’s it for show #86, so until next time, Vape On!

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