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Health ministry to inspect new e-cigarettes for possible risks

July 10, 2017 - 09:46 By Catherine Chung
Government authorities said Monday they will be examining the e-cigarette IQOS for any health risks starting next month.

IQOS, a product that heats tobacco, went on sale locally in June. Its manufacturer, Philip Morris International, claims that it has removed health-harming substances in the product by 90 percent compared with conventional burning cigarettes. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it will verify the claims, and measure nicotine and tar levels: the two chemicals that are said to be the most dangerous substances inhaled from smoking.

(Photo courtesy of Philip Morris International) (Yonhap)

In addition to safety inspections, IQOS and other e-cigarettes are under scrutiny for their tax benefits. E-cigarettes are levied with taxes that are only 50 to 60 percent of those on conventional cigarettes.

Opposition lawmakers have introduced a revision to existing rules recently demanding a hike on e-cigarettes taxes, arguing that the two types of cigarettes all use tobacco. Their move is supported by the drug safety ministry.

Manufacturers say that raising the taxes will nearly double the price of e-cigarettes, burdening consumers who want to use the safer product. (Yonhap)