E-cigarettes in South Korea

This page includes all of our content relating to South Korea, including our full-length market and regulatory reports, our extensive news coverage – both business and regulatory – our numerous trackers and databases, as well as our live alerts.

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Brands trackers
Our online price benchmarking project, analysing multi-brand retail websites in selected vape markets
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Flavour & nicotine trackers
Analytical insights of the most significant vaping flavours and nicotine strengths
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User-friendly databases with key global analysis, statistics, directories and more
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Some e-cig facts in South Korea

Nicotine-containing e-liquid is considered in South Korea to be a tobacco product and vaping is, in practical terms, considered to be the same as smoking. Under the Enforcement Decree of the National Health Promotion Act, an e-cigarette is defined as: “Tobacco made to cause the same effect as smoking by inhaling nicotine-containing solution or shredded tobacco into the body through the respiratory organ with an electronic device.”

Following the 2019 outbreak in the US of illnesses and death related to vaping, the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare issued a recommendation against vaping and the enforcement agencies stepped up random checks of vapour products on the market.

Currently, there are more than 20 bills under consideration that seek to further restrict e-cigarette flavours and advertising, increase taxes, and enhance reporting of ingredients.

Smoking rates

The Korean government has an anti-tobacco policy and has introduced a variety of measures to decrease tobacco usage, such as smoking bans in public places, a cigarette price hike and graphic warnings on cigarette packaging.

Data published by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance also shows a drop in the sales of tobacco cigarettes. Although South Korea remains a country with relatively high smoking rates, the proportion of smokers has been gradually declining.