Demystifying the gray sales chain of IQOS e-cigarettes, there have been many crimes after huge profits.
According to the official website of IQOS, the biggest selling point of this kind of electronic cigarette is that the burning temperature of general cigarettes is above 600℃, while the burning temperature of IQOS is only 350℃. There is no burning, ashes, and lower temperature heating, which can have a real cigarette taste. The harmful substances in it are significantly reduced.
“Some wholesalers have even toured guides themselves.” The IQOS e-cigarette wholesaler, who asked reporters to remain anonymous, added that there is another way for sellers to send IQOS e-cigarettes from Japan to buyers through direct mail. But relatively speaking, the way to cooperate with the tour guide is the safest. ”
Does IQOS, as it advertises, greatly reduce the harm of tobacco to humans? How to sell this kind of e-cigarette in a gray area in China? What kind of channels can be legally sold?
In February 2018, five people including the criminal suspect Gou were arrested on suspicion of illegal business operations by the procuratorial organ.
Zhang Li told reporters that they can wholesale hundreds of IQOS and hundreds of heatsticks/cartridges to buyers at one time. If more than 1,000 are needed, they can arrive in batches.
Compared with Zhang Li’s wholesale price, another merchant named Li Jianguo (a pseudonym) is relatively cheaper. For example, for the same Ferrari, Li Jianguo sells for 1,350 yuan and Li Jianguo for 1,250 yuan.
In the above-mentioned Shaoxing case, within only half a year of police investigation, Yang and Chen’s online store sales reached several million yuan, and their cars were upgraded from Hyundai to BMW.
In China, any unit or individual must apply for a tobacco monopoly license issued by the China Tobacco Monopoly Administration in order to conduct tobacco business and sales. Privately selling unlicensed foreign cigarettes will be suspected of crimes such as smuggling and illegal business operations.
The amount involved is as high as 100 million yuan
This terrifying data has been noticed by Chen Guoxin’s girlfriend. His girlfriend is a nurse in the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. Under the threat of “you will not get married if you smoke”, Chen Guoxin, who claims to be a “male chauvinist”, finally made concessions and switched to IQOS e-cigarettes.
The 1℃ reporter of China Business News found in the investigation that the sellers selling IQOS e-cigarettes on WeChat Moments all labeled “IQOS is the only one with real cigarette taste. If you don’t smoke, you will never know how good it is. Technology changes your life.” , “Creating a new healthy smoking model” and other advertisements. On Taobao, there used to be many shops that directly sold IQOS smoking sets and heatsticks, but they were later required to be removed from the shelves by the regulatory authorities, so a large number of merchants appeared in the name of maintenance. In fact, maintenance is basically a cover, and more is to engage in the private sale of smoking sets and heatsticks.
For example, in March 2018, the police in Shaoxing, Zhejiang, cracked a huge Internet sales of heat-not-burn cigarettes. In this case, Yang and Chen are a couple who originally worked in a foreign trade company in Yiwu, but they later discovered that selling IQOS e-cigarettes can quickly get rich. The two soon registered online stores to sell IQOS e-cigarettes, and promoted them through WeChat Moments, websites, and other channels.
The Shanghai prosecutor stated that in the above case, the suspect, Gou, and others were obviously not qualified to import tobacco monopoly products, nor did they have a tobacco retail license, and were not qualified to operate and sell cigarettes and other tobacco monopoly products in China. According to the law, the amount of illegally operating and selling cigarettes reaches 50,000 yuan, which constitutes a “serious situation” and constitutes the crime of illegal business operations. The IQOS cigarettes sold by the criminal suspect Gou and others were all smuggled into China from abroad, and were identified as genuine cigarettes without the words “China National Tobacco Corporation Monopoly”. He illegally purchased cigarettes from abroad and sold them in the country. The illegal business amounted to hundreds of thousands of yuan, and he was suspected of illegal business operations.
“It (IQOS e-cigarette) tastes real, not much different from ordinary cigarettes, except that the smoke is slightly lighter.” Chen Guoxin said, “but it not only has fewer harmful substances, but it also allows me to find the feeling of smoking.”
Article 2 of the “Tobacco Monopoly Law” stipulates: “Tobacco monopoly products referred to in this Law refer to cigarettes, cigars, shredded tobacco, redry tobacco leaves, tobacco leaves, cigarette paper, filter rods, tobacco tows, and special tobacco machinery. Cigarettes , Cigars, shredded tobacco, and redry-cured tobacco are collectively referred to as tobacco products. “Therefore, the operation and sales of cigarettes shall comply with the provisions of the national tobacco monopoly management laws and regulations.
The 1℃ reporter of China Business News found that in January 2018, Ningbo, Zhejiang, was punished for the first time for illegal trafficking of e-cigarettes, followed by similar cases in Shaoxing, Shanghai, Wenzhou, Dalian, Yantai and other places.