South Korean tobacco manufacturer KT&G on Monday unveiled its new heat-not-burn tobacco device Lil Hybrid, the first HNB device that works by heating a liquid cartridge.
“Our previous HNB tobacco devices -- Lil Mini and Lil Plus -- had received consumer feedback that the taste needs to be improved. That’s why we came up with our exclusive and new platform called Lil Hybrid,” said Lim Wang-seob, chief of the company’s product innovation division.
According to KT&G, Lil Hybrid works by heating a detachable liquid cartridge from a stick called Miix, which is specially designed for Lil Hybrid device.
KT&G’s new heat-not-burn tobacco Lil Hybrid (KT&G)
Miix is available in three different tastes, Miix Presso, Miix Mix and Miix Ice. The liquid cartridge does not contain any flavoring. The liquid cartridge and Miix are only compatible with Lil Hybrid.
Until now, previous HNB tobacco devices by KT&G as well as from its rivals Phillip Morris and BAT Korea, worked by directly heating a tobacco stick. The sticks are directly heated at around 315 Celsius degrees.
KT&G said with Lil Hybrid, the liquid cartridge is heated at low-temperature at around 160 degrees.
While the company argued that its brand-new device contains reduced health risks, it declined to elaborate further on its safety test results.
“According to our safety and health risk test conducted at the third-party organization, health risks of Lil Hybrid were reduced compared to our previous models,” said Lim.
“While there are no concrete regulations or safety guidelines under the government for HNB tobacco manufacturers, we are willing to unveil our test results once the domestic or international regulation is officially established,” he added.
In July, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety released safety results that found HNB tobacco to be equally, if not more, harmful compared to traditional cigarettes.
A battle is ongoing between the tobacco makers and the Korean government over the latter’s move to impose stricter regulations on HNB tobacco, including its latest decision to require HNB products to carry the same graphic warning images and combustible tobacco from this December.
With the launch of the new HNB device, KT&G said it will also expand sales to overall Asian market as well as in the European countries.
The price of Lil Hyrid is 110,000 won ($97), while the liquid cartridge is 500 won. One packet of Miix containing 20 sticks is 4,500 won.
(Video shot and edited by Lee So-jeong/The Korea Herald)
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