In its ongoing struggle to overturn the FDA e-cig regulations, the American vaping industry might have recently discovered a very unlikely friend and ally. China might be the industry’s secret weapon, one with tremendous amounts of political influence, power, and money.

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Modern-day electronic cigarettes were actually invented almost ten years ago by a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik, who also just happened to be addicted to smoking. He wanted to invent a device that would simulate the effects of smoking tobacco without ingesting all of the deadly toxins. Oddly, e-cigs sales in the United States began skyrocketing almost immediately while the Chinese people have been somewhat resistant to the new trend.

Smoking is still one of the biggest health problems facing China in 2016. An estimated 1.2 million Chinese citizens die from smoking-related illnesses every year, and Big Tobacco rakes in about $200 billion annually just from this single, national market. On the other hand, China is beginning to reap the financial rewards of a global vaping community that demands bigger and better technology as fast as they can get it.

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