Korea, South Download PDFAdd to comparison

In South Korea nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are classified as tobacco products, and sale is prohibited to minors under 19 years. Packaging and advertisements have to include health warnings saying they contain harmful substances (listed). Nicotine-containing e-cigarette adverts can only be featured a maximum of 10 times per magazine per year. Vaping is banned in public places and public transport but allowed in designated smoking areas. E-cigarettes have a number of taxes and charges applied (national health promotion, tobacco consumption, local education, and individual consumption taxes) proportional to 1,799 won/mL (approx. $1.53 USD) of nicotine liquid. There is also a waste charge of 24 won/20 cartridges (approx. $0.02 USD) and a 10% Value Added Tax (VAT).
Selling e-cigarettes (containing nicotine) and control mechanisms
Sale of e-cigarettes
Allowed[1, 2, 3]
As tobacco products
Yes[1, 2, 3]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

General use and availability
Legal to use
Yes[1, 2, 3]
Legal to sell e-cigarette device
Yes[1, 2, 3]
Legal to sell nicotine
Yes[1, 2, 3]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Advertising & promotion
Public advertising allowed in all Media
Yes[1, 2, 3]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Health
Minimum age restrictions on sales
Yes 19+[1, 2, 3]
Legal restrictions on vaping in public places
Yes[1, 2, 3]
Health warning on packaging required
Yes[1, 2, 3]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Notes on methodology & limitations

Data has been collected from a range of sources which are openly available online, such as vaping information/regulation websites & direct from country's legislation where available. In a few instances information has been included which was received from individuals specialising in the field. The regulatory picture changes frequently and these data boxes show the situation at time of going to press. This website will be updated as/when new regulatory information is received. There are gaps in the data available - readers are invited to send in updated information to the GSTHR team.

Country News

  • Friday, February 01, 2019
  • Smoking and vaping

  • During my 11-plus years in Korea, I have inhaled vast amounts of second-hand smoke. I have never smoked and would never do so, believing it to be a vile and disgusting habit. The deleterious effects of smoking on the human body are legion.

    People who light up are more likely to develop lung cancer (not to mention cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder and kidneys), emphysema, diabetes, leukemia, blood clots, high cholesterol, heart disease, strokes, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019
  • Rise of Heat-Not-Burn Products Coincides With Decrease in Cigarette Sales

  • Last year, an increase in heat-not-burn (HNB) electronic tobacco product sales in South Korea coincided with a decrease in cigarette sales, causing people who care about public health to pore over the potential significance.

    South Korea’s consumer trend could indicate the harm reduction potential of HNB products—which heat tobacco sticks enough to produce nicotine-containing vapor, but not enough to produce smoke—to move smokers off of cigarettes. US federal regulators, meanwhile, say that not enough evidence shows that HNB products reduce harms relative to smoking.

  • Friday, December 21, 2018
  • One out of nine Koreans smoke e-cigarettes

  • One out of nine Koreans now smoke heat-not-burn (HNB) cigarettes, showing a viral proliferation in one of the world’s most heavily smoking countries in just 17 months since the type was introduced in Korea. 

    According to data released by the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Friday, 288 million packs of cigarettes were sold last month in Korea, of which 11.3 percent, or 35 million packs, were HNM kinds. The e-cigarette share topped 11 percent now, up from 7.3 percent a year ago. 

  • Thursday, December 13, 2018
  • Are e-cigarettes really harmful?

  • Recently in The Korea Times, there was an article titled "Smoking e-cigarettes as harmful as conventional ones" which was very misleading on many fronts. I would like to clear the "air" on this topic as many people are still in a fog when it comes to this new disruptive technology.

    First a little background. I am in my third year of vaping (using e-cigarettes) after quitting smoking for more than 30 years. It has been amazing how effective and seamless it has been for me to adopt this new technology to break a nasty habit. [...]

  • Friday, December 07, 2018
  • 'Smoking e-cigarettes just as harmful as conventional ones'

  • Controversy over the safety of using electronic cigarettes has stirred in the country after the government released a report stating e-cigarettes contained five harmful substances that could cause cancer. Cigarette manufacturing company Philip Morris filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety over the report.

    Some 27 countries around the world including the United States, China and Hong Kong have some restrictions on e-cigarettes claiming they contain harmful substances. However, this is not the case in Korea [...]

  • Wednesday, November 28, 2018
  • South Korea legalises medical marijuana

  •  

    South Korea has become the first east Asian country to legalise medical cannabis in a surprising move to expand the treatment options for patients with epilepsy and other rare diseases in the conservative country.

    The country’s national assembly approved amending the Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs on Friday to allow non-hallucinogenic doses of medical marijuana. Still, using weed even for medical purpose will be strictly controlled with patients required to apply to the Korea Orphan Drug Centre, [...]