Securities Times reporter visited Huaqiangbei Heat-not-burn “Ben Cao Yun Ji”(本草云集:Heatsticks Gathering) Experience Store.
In addition to atomized electronic cigarettes, heat-not-burn “Non-tobacco” products have quietly emerged.
In Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen, billboards selling e-cigarettes can be seen everywhere. Recently, heat-not-burn “herbal heatsticks” product experience stores have been opened one after another. Next to the entrance of the Kangle Communication Building, some small shops selling new tobacco products have been opened.
On February 1, a reporter from the Securities Times came to Huaqiangbei. When I walked into a small shop called “Ben Cao Yun Ji”, many customers were trying out or consulting. The store is only about 15 square meters. The shelf on the right is lined with rows of electronic atomized cigarettes of various brands, and on the shelf on the left are various brands of heat-not-burn (HNB) “herbal heatsticks” products.
According to the store clerk, the heat-not-burn products of “Materia Medica Yunji” were sold in January, and the current sales situation is not as good as e-cigarettes. HNB products on sale include UWOO’s heating non-combustion equipment, as well as BAOS, ZERO, Wuweijie, PNT, TEAGAR, Cigoo, and other herbal heatsticks brands.
Some of these branded products have no nicotine, and some have nicotine. Products with nicotine sell better. The price of a pack of cartridges is about 30 yuan($4.6). From the perspective of sales, mint and blueberry flavor heatsticks cartridges are more popular.
The store employee said that the largest market for HNB products is currently in Japan and South Korea. The products of “Ben Cao Yun Ji” have been exported, and in the future, they plan to be promoted in offline experience stores.
Diagonally across from “Ben Cao Yun Ji”, is another plant and herb experience store, exhibiting its rand products, including heating non-combustion equipment and low-temperature Ben Cao brand cigarette bombs.
“The raw materials of herbal tobacco pods do not contain tobacco leaves, which are not in the scope of tobacco supervision and can be sold legally, but now everyone dares not put them on the Internet.” The store manager told the Securities Times reporter that this is the company’s first offline experience store, and the second experience store in Coastal City is about to open.
In his view, e-cigarettes are “for young people to play”, and HNB products are more suitable for old smokers. Compared with traditional cigarettes, HNB products are healthier. In the future, they will partially replace traditional cigarettes and have good development prospects. Based on this, he resigned from the foreign trade industry last year and joined the HNB market.
Heat-not-burn cartridges were originally developed by Philip Morris International and other giants of foreign tobacco companies. They are specially made cartridges that are installed in a heating device. But these products encountered legal obstacles when they entered our country. In 2017, the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration formulated and issued the “Notice on Carrying out the Identification and Inspection of New Type Cigarette Products”, characterizing cartridges that contain sufficient tobacco as tobacco products, and falling under the supervision of the “Tobacco Monopoly Law”.
At present, the low-temperature herbal cartridges marketed by Chinese companies are called “heat-not-burn non-smoking products” and “non-tobacco cartridges”, which work on the same principle as tobacco cartridges; the difference is that low-temperature herbal cartridges do not contain tobacco. The ingredients mainly use natural herbs such as tea, ginkgo leaves, and flowers as raw materials, circumventing existing laws and policies to a certain extent, and find a way out for companies to develop compliance in the heat non-combustion field.