HNB gaining share

    Heat-not-burn (HNB) cigarettes accounted for 9.6 percent of South Korea’s tobacco market in 2018, up from 2.2 percent in 2017, according to a Yonhap News Agency story citing figures published today by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

    Overall, sales of combustible and HNB cigarettes were said to have fallen by 1.5 percent in 2018 from those of a year earlier following anti-smoking interventions by the government and higher prices.

    Smokers bought 3.47 billion 20-piece cigarette packs last year, compared with 3.52 billion packs the previous year.

    Sales of combustible cigarettes fell by 8.9 percent year-on-year to 3.14 billion packs in 2018, while those of heat-not-burn cigarettes increased from 79 million packs in 2017 to 332 million packs in 2018.

    The 2018 sales figure was said to have been down by 20.4 percent on that of 2014, the year before the retail price of cigarettes was increased overnight on January 1, 2015, by 80 percent, from 2,500 won (US$2.20) per pack to 4,500 won, mainly on the back of a tax increase.

    In 2016, the Government required tobacco companies to put graphic health warnings on the upper parts of both the main faces of cigarette packs.

    Meanwhile, the government collected 11.8 trillion won in taxes from cigarette sales in 2018, up by five percent from the previous year’s 11.2 trillion won.