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Tobacco association to sue over e-cigarette taxes

The Korea Electronic Cigarette Association said it is planning to file a constitutional lawsuit over the tax rate on liquid e-cigarettes known as “dipping tobacco.”

The association argues the tax is 6.6 times higher than the rate applied to conventional cigarettes, despite it being less harmful.

Unlike cigarettes, which are taxed per 20 sticks, dipping tobacco is taxed per gram. When converted into 20 pouches of dipping tobacco, which is roughly equivalent to 20 cigarettes, the tax is 19,000 won. The tax on 20 regular cigarettes is 2,885 won.

The trade association stresses that dipping tobacco was the first product approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a modified risk tobacco product in 2019. It said the US FDA has acknowledged that it is scientifically correct to say these dipping tobacco products “can reduce the risk of oral cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis” when used as an alternative to cigarettes.

The trade group added that because dipping tobacco does not generate smoke, there is no damage from secondhand smoke, and that Korea’s tax rate on dipping tobacco is 17 times higher than that charged in countries such as Japan and Sweden, which recognize dipping tobacco as a less harmful product.



By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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