SEOUL, May 24 (Korea Bizwire) — The market share of heat-not-burn (HNB) electronic cigarettes has risen more than five times over the past two years on tobacco makers’ aggressive marketing, data showed Friday.
Sales of HNB e-cigarettes stood at 92 million packs in the first quarter of this year, up a whopping 34 percent from a year earlier, according to the government data. One pack contains 20 e-cigarettes.
The market share of those cigarettes, including Phillip Morris’ iQOS and South Korean leading cigarette maker KT&G Corp.’s lil, soared to 11.8 percent as of end-March from 2.2 percent two years ago.
In May 2017, Phillip Morris unveiled the iQOS in South Korea, making it the first HNB e-cigarette to hit the domestic market.
The health ministry attributed the soaring market share of HNB e-cigarettes to makers’ aggressive marketing and publicity activities, which claim they are less harmful than traditional tobacco.
In a bid to curb their rising sales, the ministry said it will move to revise a related law next year, which would require e-cigarette packs and devices carry warning images and texts.
In late 2016, South Korea required all cigarette packs to carry graphic warning photos and warning texts on the adverse health effects of smoking as part of efforts to lower the country’s smoking rate.