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South Korea’s heating tobacco product market to grow in 2020: research

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

While South Korea’s tobacco market is expected to decline overall, the sales of heated tobacco products will edge up this year, a market research firm said Thursday.

According to Euromonitor International, the Korean tobacco market reached 17.19 trillion won ($16 billion) in 2019. Of the total, 1.89 trillion won was spent on heat-not-burn cigarettes, which put the country as the second-largest market in the world after Japan.

The industry tracker forecast Korea’s heating tobacco product market will edge up to reach 2 trillion won in 2020.

As for the liquid e-cigarettes, which marked 87.5 billion won in 2019, Euromonitor anticipated the sales to drop by 80 percent to 16.8 billion won this year, after it was hit by government regulations in the second half of the year.

While the world tobacco market overall shows a decline in growth, flavored tobacco products are gaining popularity in Korea, the research firm said. Last year, flavored conventional cigarettes took about 20 percent of market share in Korea, which is higher than the neighboring countries Japan (7 percent) and China (1.7 percent) -- both of which have a high consumption rate of conventional cigarettes.

Euromonitor viewed the main consumer group for the flavored cigarettes also smoke heated tobacco products.

“The so-called ‘multiusers’ who smoke both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes prefer the flavored tobacco products,” Lee Oryoon, a research analyst at Euromonitor International said.

“This trend reflects the stringent social atmosphere against cigarette smell and also the limited smoking areas, and it goes in line with how heated tobacco products and vaping devices have been especially popular in Korea.”

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the marketing of Philip Morris e-heated cigarettes IQOS as a Modified Risk Tobacco Product. In doing so, the agency permits the marketing of a product as containing a reduced level of or presenting a reduced exposure to a substance.

The IQOS system became the first e-heated cigarettes that received marketing orders with a reduced exposure rating through the FDA’s MRTP process.

“Through the modified risk tobacco product application process, the FDA aims to ensure that information directed at consumers about reduced risk or reduced exposure from using a tobacco product is supported by scientific evidence and understandable,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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