Despite government efforts to curb smoking, the tobacco industry here and abroad has been advancing with new innovative products, the latest being US e-cigarette maker Juul Labs that formally launched here Wednesday.
Juul claims that that its vape pens will hit the local market Friday, challenging the tobacco market here which has recently been led by heat-not-burn tobacco devices.
Juul Lab’s vaping e-cigarette Juul (Kim Da-sol/The Korea Herald)
It is the American startup’s first Asia-Pacific entry since it was launched in 2017.
In the US, Juul accounted for 76 percent global e-cigarette market share as of last year, attracting young adults with a sleek design and compact-sized device with various flavored liquid pods.
Juul co-founders James Mosees and Adam Bowen said during a press conference that the company aims to achieve its mission of “make a switch” in Korea, offering “a better alternative” for some nine million smokers here who rely on combustible cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco.
“We have a long shared belief that through innovation, combustible cigarettes and tremendous health care costs can be eliminated by offering a better solution to consumers,” Mosees told reporters.
Through a decadelong trial-and-error efforts and consumer-centric research, he said the invention of Juul was “a once in a century opportunity to improve public health.”
Although the company did not comment on the health impact and harmful level of Juul the firm’s Asia region Vice President Ken Bishop said that “trusted and independent institutions” such as American Cancer Society and Public Health England have approved the health impact of e-cigarettes.
Unlike other e-cigarettes that use liquid cartridge by refilling, the Juul device works by switching a pod. A pod, equivalent to a single tobacco pack, offering around 220 cigarette puffs.
It also uses a unique technology which automatically controls the temperature of vape liquid and minimizes smoke exhaust, the company said.
The starter kit, comprising a device and charger, costs 39,000 won ($32.6), about is $17 cheaper than in the US. The kit and five pods -- classic, tropical, crisp, fresh and delight – will be available at GS25 and 7-Eleven convenience stores and Lotte and Shilla Duty Free stores from Friday.
The company added that it has reduced the nicotine concentration level of Juul pod or liquid cartridge to less than 1 percent -- 10mg/ml nicotine -- to abide by the toxic substances law here. In the US, its pod includes 3 percent to 5 percent of nicotine level varying by flavors.
Now as a unicorn startup with 2,300 employees, Juul has a presence in countries like Canada, France, Germany, Italia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org