China’s tobacco regulator on Friday asked e-commerce platforms and businesses to shut online stores that sell e-cigarettes, in a move aimed at stopping minors from purchasing e-cigarettes through the internet, reports Reuters.
The notice comes after online platforms and retailers in the U.S. started removing vapor products amid government scrutiny of vaping’s effects on health.
It also arrives as Chinese startups race to capture a piece of China’s potentially massive market for e-cigarettes.
Dated Oct. 30, the notice was published one day later on the website of China Tobacco, which is overseen by the country’s tobacco regulator.
In order to protect “the physical and mental health of minors,” the regulator urged e-cigarette producers, retailers, or individual sellers to temporarily close online sales websites or channels and urged e-commerce platform to temporarily close e-cigarette shops.
China is home to more than 300 million smokers, making it the world’s largest tobacco market.