A leading online vape retailer has warned that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus could cause “massive problems” for the industry.

Chinese manufacturers produce almost all of the world’s cannabis vaporizers, cartridges, and batteries. California-based retailer ProVape predicted that the cannabis vaping trade could be significantly affected due to supply issues from China.

Senior executive Art Harutyunyan said the company has been advised to “anticipate the worst”. Retailers are urged to stock up on coils, vape kits, pod systems, mods, tanks, and disposable devices.

The U.S. industry is already reeling from President Trump’s trade war with China, which caused many products to be removed from stores. China produces around 90% of the world’s vaping devices in roughly 1,000 factories.

Wholesale vape suppliers must wait for the coronavirus crisis to end before they can get a steady supply of vaporizer products.

“We are constantly told that products are on backorder, and are encouraged to stock up with vape hardware to avoid any issues in coming months,” said Harutyunyan.

The coronavirus epidemic began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading across the world. Beijing has reacted by placing areas in quarantine and turning many city centres into virtual ghost towns.

The Chinese economy has ground to a halt. Manufacturing centres are on partial lockdown and factory closures have spread, sending shockwaves across a global economy that appeared to be on the cusp of a modest revival. Some fear it will cost $1.1 trillion in lost income.

The virus has now infected more than 80,000 people across the globe and killed almost 3,000. Italy, Iran, and South Korea have emerged as hotspots, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that Americans should brace themselves for it spreading across the U.S., but China accounts for the vast majority of cases.

Shenzhen in China is known as the vaping capital of the world. In that city of 12.5 million people, businesses have been allowed to resume operations if they implement stringent measures to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

However, factory workers in the city have complained that there is a gap between regulation and reality.

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