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Sales of heat-not-burn tobacco skyrocket in 11 months: data

May 16, 2018 - 14:44 By Kim Da-sol
Following the release of different types of heat-not-burn cigarette products by major tobacco companies in Korea, a total of 163 million packs of HNB cigarettes have been sold in the 11 months since the first HNB e-cigarette device was introduced to the domestic market, data showed Wednesday.

According to data from the tobacco industry and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, sales of HNB cigarettes have risen sharply since Philip Morris International released the Iqos in May last year. Sales of HNB cigarettes hit 10 million packs in July last year, 17 million packs in August, 20 million packs in September and 21 million packs in October. 

Tobacco sticks for the heat-not-burn electronic cigarette device iQOS by Philip Morris. (Yonhap)

Each pack contains a total of 20 cigarette sticks that can be put into a tobacco-heating device, such as Philip Morris’ Iqos, BAT Korea’s Glo and KT&G’s Lil. Glo and Lil were launched in August and November last year, respectively.

Last year, the government moved to raise taxes on HNB e-cigarettes and restrict promotions by tobacco companies. The National Assembly in December passed a bill for a tax hike on HNB cigarette products, from 528 won (50 cents) to 897 won per pack.

Sales of HNB cigarettes tumbled to 11 million packs in November and 12 million packs in December, but rose to 23 million packs in January, 22 million packs in February and 24 million packs in March. 

Earlier this week, the government released a plan to require HNB cigarette packs to carry risk warnings, from December. The tobacco industry has strongly resisted the unprecedented decision, the first of its kind around the world.

By Kim Da-sol (