The Growth and Challenges of Tobacco Alternatives in Korea

The Growth and Challenges of Tobacco Alternatives in Korea
BAT Korea CEO Kim Eun-ji aims to promote tobacco alternative products as their market share in Korea rises to 11.7%.

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South Korean financial news reported on August 29th that Kim Eun-ji, CEO of British American Tobacco Korea (BAT), expressed in a media interview that his goal is to drive the development of tobacco alternative products. Since taking office as CEO in 2020, the market share of BAT's heated tobacco product, Glo, in South Korea has increased from 6.26% to 11.7%.

BAT Korea recently launched a closed-system disposable e-cigarette called VUSE GO 800. This product utilizes natural nicotine, and all the nicotine e-liquids are manufactured in the United States.

British American Tobacco (BAT) had previously contemplated introducing VUSE in the South Korean market, but it needed to adhere to the country's nicotine content regulations, which require a maximum limit of 1%. Additionally, the formula had to cater to the preferences of adult smokers.

Jin Enzhi stated that the product has received a very positive response since its release and has exceeded expectations, necessitating a further increase in production capacity.

In the e-cigarette market in South Korea, major tobacco companies have once again launched vapes after a gap of four years. In 2019, following the outbreak of severe lung diseases among teenagers in the United States, the South Korean government has issued a "strong recommendation to abstain from the use of vapes".

Kim Eunji stated that in response to the government's instructions, the company will "establish and ensure robust scientific evidence to demonstrate potential harm reduction and reduce disagreements through ongoing communication.

She firmly stated that if an incident like that of 2019 were to happen again, the vape market might vanish. However, she believes that BAT (Big Tobacco companies) will not cause a similar event.

We will continue to research and develop in order to ensure the quality and safety of our products.

She also mentioned that in the process of transitioning from selling only cigarettes to multiple product categories, there is an inevitable need for transformation in business and operational direction.

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