The South Korean government has declared publicly that e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products are no safer than smoking and are not helpful in getting smokers to quit – a statement that has led Philip Morris International (PMI) to take legal action in response.

The company has filed a lawsuit in Seoul Administrative Court seeking the disclosure of test data used in a government study that reached the damning conclusion about alternatives to combustible cigarettes.

The government said the findings of the study would be considered when devising tobacco-management policies and tobacco-cessation programmes.

PMI takes particular issue with the study’s focus on tar levels as a yardstick to indicate the level of health risk. The company argues that by focusing on tar, the ministry is creating an inaccurate impression that will encourage smokers to stay on combustible cigarettes.


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