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)