Heat-not-burn e-cigarettes accounted for 11.3 percent of all cigarettes sold in November, ministry data showed Friday.
According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, 288 million packs of cigarettes were sold here in November, a 1 percent on-year increase. Some 35 million packs of those were cigarettes used for HNB e-cigarette devices.
Since the launch of the first HNB e-cigarette Iqos from Philip Morris International in May last year, interest in such devices has grown, sparking a steep increase in sales. About 163 million packs of HNB cigarettes were sold in less than a year after the product launched last year.
From January to November, about 295 million HNB e-cigarettes packs were sold, accounting for a market share of 9.3 percent.
Entering a second phase, top tobacco makers operating in the country — PMI, KT&G and BAT Korea — have engaged in a heated marketing war, launching new models and different flavored products.
The market share of e-cigarette packs has been on a gradual rise, recording 9 percent in January, 10 percent in May and 11 percent as of November.
From January to November, 3.2 billion cigarette packs were sold here, for about a 1.6 percent decrease on-year, the ministry said.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org)