KT&G plans to unveil heat-not-burn tobacco

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KT&G plans to unveil heat-not-burn tobacco

KT&G Corp. will soon release heat-not-burn cigarettes amid the growing popularity of the smoke-free tobacco, despite concerns over the emission of toxic substances similar to those of conventional cigarettes.

Korea’s largest tobacco manufacturer will begin marketing the new product in September, a KT&G official said, noting that Philip Morris Korea began selling iQOS on May 27.

“We are witnessing the growing popularity of iQOS, although it’s not been so long since its launch in South Korea,” a Philip Morris Korea spokesperson said, declining to elaborate on sales.

A 51-year-old man, who identified himself as Lee, said he bought iQOS. “I want to stop smoking on a gradual basis with the help of iQOS, which is said to have less toxic substances.”

Philip Morris Korea said iQOS releases only about 10 percent of the toxic substances emitted by conventional cigarettes.

“IQOS heats the tobacco just enough to release a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor without burning it,” it said. “The tobacco in a cigarette burns at temperatures in excess of 600 degrees Celsius, generating smoke that contains harmful chemicals. But iQOS heats tobacco to much lower temperatures, below 350 degrees, without combustion, fire, ash, or smoke.”

British American Tobacco (BAT Korea) said it will release Neostiks for its tobacco heating product, glo, in August. “Neostiks, specially designed tobacco sticks for glo, are heated by the device to create a vapor with an experience similar to that of a cigarette but with reduced potential for risk.”

Critics, however, denounce HNB cigarette producers for promoting the new product though its safety has not been verified. University of Bern professor Reto Auer said his team found no big distinction between the amount of hazardous materials in conventional cigarettes and the iQOS vapor.

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