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How the web giants negotiate the global complexities of e-cig regulation

Amazon sells no e-cigarette products in the US, but does allow “permitted sellers” to sell non-nicotine products in several European countries, including the UK, through Amazon Marketplace – as long as they can prove they have an effective age verification system.

That is among the findings of an ECigIntelligence market report into the impact of the internet’s mega-retailers and the various ways they negotiate regulations which vary in detail and severity from country to country.

It says retail platforms such as eBay, Tmall and JD.com have had a limited effect on the e-cigarette market so far but have potential to become more significant.

In China, for example the vast majority of e-cig sales take place online, whereas in the UK it’s only a small minority. Online sales do have the potential to become much more important in the UK, however.

A key advantage of online retail in the future could be ready access to a wider variety of flavours and different strength products for customers wishing to be more experimental.

The report also says social media is a valuable way to reach out to consumers but care must be taken not to breach rules. Facebook, for example, does not allow advertising of e-cig products, but does host brand pages and discussion groups.

– ECigIntelligence staff

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