As US health officials continue to look for patterns in the hundreds of serious lung injuries reported in people who use electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices, Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba said on October 9 to the media that it will stop selling e-cigarette components in the country. Earlier three other retail giants namely Kroger Co, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Walmart announced this week that they would stop selling e-cigarettes at their stores. The Chinese retail said that it was already planning on stopping the sales in the US for long. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.
"Listings for products such as box mods, vape pens, herbal vapors, heat not burn devices, and empty pod cartridges will not be available for US users anymore," said Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
As per sales reports, Juul Labs Inc dominates the North American market for pod e-cigarettes. Yet many reports of death and injury in the United States have been tied to makeshift brands with no identifiable owner. Most illnesses have been identified to be linked with Dank Vapes with 24 patients with lung diseases, according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine. Medical reports cite THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, which is present in the device to be causing the disease.
There were several eCommerce sites selling e-cigarettes online. Reports suggest that the sales were also done through print media and at some stores. Yet Alibaba and Amazon were the major sellers. Prior to the suspension, buyers could easily purchase devices, component parts and packaging from the sites to make their own counterfeit vaping devices. This September, Amazon took down vape paraphernalia without specifying the exact products it removed.