One out of nine Koreans smoke e-cigarettes

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One out of nine Koreans smoke heat-not-burn (HNB) cigarettes, showing a viral proliferation in one of the world’s most heavily smoking countries in just 17 months since the type was introduced, write Chung Seok-woo and Lee Ha-yeon for Pulse.

According to data released by the Ministry of Economy and Finance last month, 288 million packs of cigarettes were sold last month in Korea, of which 11.3 percent, or 35 million packs, were HNM kinds. The e-cigarette share topped 11 percent now, up from 7.3 percent a year ago.

Cumulative sales of HNM cigarettes up to November this year reached 295.5 million packs with a 9.3 percent share in the tobacco market.

Tax revenue from manufacture and sale of cigarettes totalled 10.7 trillion won ($9.5 billion), up 2.6 percent from the previous year and a whopping 63.9 percent from the same period in 2014 before the sale tax went up sharply. Tobacco contributes almost 3 percent of Korea`s total tax revenue.

iQos, a new type of cigarette that heats tobacco to release vapor and lessen the smoke smell, arrived in Korea in June last year, making others including Korea’s KT&G to release similar types in line with the broader no-smoking zones across the country.

One out of nine Koreans smoke e-cigarettes

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