South Korea’s major duty-free store operators including Shilla, Shinsegae and Lotte Duty Free decided to halt sales of liquid e-cigarettes Tuesday, following the government’s earlier warning against the use of the vaping devices over health concerns.
Duty-free store operators said they are suspending sales of four types of flavored liquid e-cigs made by US tobacco startup Juul Labs, Siid Tundra made by a local tobacco maker KT&G and seven other kinds from Phix and Viento.
The move came days after the government “strongly advised” to not use liquid e-cigs, warning they could cause serious lung illness or death.
On Friday, major convenience store chain GS 25 and E-mart 24 said they had immediately removed liquid e-cigs from shelves. Those included KT&G’s Siid Tundra, used for vaping device Lil Vapor, which was launched in May, and Juul Tropical, Delight and Crisp for Juul.
Currently, all convenience store chains including CU, 7-Eleven and Ministop have stopped selling the products in question from their stores nationwide.
A total of 36 different e-cig brands by 11 tobacco companies have been sold in Korea, while unregulated vapor devices made in China and the US are sold online.
Following the latest sales ban by retailers, KT&G said Tuesday that it has scrapped the plan to manufacture additional stock of Siid Tundra at its Chinese plant.
Last week, the country’s Health Ministry issued a “strong warning” on the use of liquid-type e-cigarettes over health concerns.
Public concerns have risen recently after a case of pneumonia for a user who switched from heat-not-burn to liquid-type e-cigarettes was reported earlier this month.
In the US, health officials have announced plans to remove flavored e-cigarettes from stores across the nation, following vaping-related lung injuries that have sickened more than 1,400 people and killed 33.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org