• June 15, 2024

Korea to Treat Synthetic Nicotine as Tobacco

 Korea to Treat Synthetic Nicotine as Tobacco
Photo: Purilum

The government of South Korea aims to regulate synthetic nicotine as tobacco, reports the Yonhap News Agency.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Economy and Finance want to revise the Tobacco Business Act to include synthetic nicotine in the definition of tobacco.

Tobacco in South Korea is governed by the National Health Promotion Act, under the jurisdiction of the health ministry, and the Tobacco Business Act governed by the finance ministry.

The current rules define tobacco as a product “manufactured in a state suitable for smoking, sucking, inhaling steam, chewing or smelling, by using tobacco leaves as all or any part of the raw materials.”

That language fails to capture the e-cigarette liquids made with synthetic nicotine, which is created in a laboratory rather than from tobacco leaves. As a result, vapes are not subject to product requirements, such as health warning labels, age restrictions and tobacco taxes, in South Korea.

The push for new legislation follows an announcement by BAT that it is mulling the launch of a new synthetic nicotine product in the country. South Korea is reportedly the only nation where the tobacco giant is considering a synthetic nicotine product.

“We have decided to push for the revision of the Tobacco Business Act when the 22nd National Assembly opens,” an official at the health ministry was quoted as saying. “We will provide necessary materials to the finance ministry, and there is already an abundance of evidence proving that synthetic nicotine is tobacco.”

The consumption of e-cigarettes has been rising steadily in South Korea, reaching 16.9 percent of tobacco sales in 2023.