S. Korea to clamp down on e-cigarette hoarding

SEJONG-- South Korea will clamp down on the hoarding of heat-not-burn (HNB) electronic cigarettes as major tobacco companies are set to mark up prices in the wake of adjustments made by the market leader, the finance ministry said Sunday.

Tax and customs offices will team up with local governments to check manufacturers, importers and sellers to prevent them from hoarding the products for the next three weeks, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said.

They will check the inventories and sales records of all manufacturers to see whether they are withholding products in storage before the planned price hikes. They will also look into their sales records for the past three months.

Last month, the South Korean unit of Philip Morris International Inc., which holds the nation's biggest HNB market share, raised the price of HEETS, tobacco sticks for heating in the iQOS electronic cigarette, by nearly 4.7 percent to 4,500 won ($4.23).

KT and G, a Korean tobacco firm, plans to increase the price of its product to 4,500 won next week, and British American Tobacco is also considering a price adjustment, according to industry officials.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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