False warnings planned

    A majority of South Koreans support higher taxes on heat-not-burn (HNB) products, according to a story in The Korea Herald citing the results of a poll published on June 17.
    The poll, which was said to have been carried out among about 1,000 adults by market research institute Trend Monitor, found that 55.6 percent of respondents agreed with the government’s move to raise taxes on HNB cigarettes.
    In December, the National Assembly passed a bill to increase taxes on HNB products from 528 won (US$0.50) to 897 won per pack.
    Tobacco manufacturers and the government have been tussling over the latter’s move to impose stricter regulations on HNB products, including the latest decision to require HNB products to carry the same graphic warning images as combustible tobacco products carry, starting December 2018.
    The Herald said that, despite HNB cigarettes being marketed as a less harmful replacement for conventional cigarettes, most of the respondents to the poll said they regarded HNB cigarettes as unhealthy.
    About 80 percent said HNB cigarettes were as harmful as conventional cigarettes.
    Nearly 13 percent said HNB cigarettes were helpful in quitting smoking, and, among current HNB product users, that figure rose to 34.8 percent.
    With regard to the government’s recent analysis of the safety of HNB cigarettes, 81.9 percent said there should be a more objective safety test on HNB products.
    Almost 74 percent of HNB users said they chose these products because they did not smell in the same way as traditional cigarettes smelt, while 3.1 percent cited the products’ ability to help them cut down on smoking and 31.7 percent cited them as a useful aid in quitting smoking.