[THE INVESTOR] Philip Morris Korea announced on Oct. 1 that it has filed a lawsuit seeking the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to disclose information relevant to its recent analysis of heat-not-burn cigarettes.
“This is an attempt to get transparent access to information that the ministry should duly disclose,” Brian Kim, corporate affairs director of the tobacco maker, said in a statement. “We also hope we can address the confusion and misperception building over the harmfulness of HNB cigarettes.”
According to Philip Morris Korea, it had already requested the ministry to disclose more information about how it reached its previous conclusion that HNB cigarettes are more harmful than conventional ones in July. The ministry, however, failed to do so, although it’s illegal for public institutions to deny information unless it falls within one of the non-disclosure exceptions.
Back in June, Korean health authorities announced that five carcinogens were found in HNB tobacco products sold in the local market, while emphasizing that the level of tar detected in some products like Philip Morris’ IQOS exceeded that of conventional cigarettes. Philip Morris at the time claimed that the ministry was misleading Korean smokers by making the announcement focusing on a comparison of tar that actually encompasses all elements -- except water and nicotine -- that are released when burning tobacco.
Philip Morris also cited the ministry’s own analysis showing that the levels of nine harmful chemicals recommended for tobacco testing by the World Health Organization were lower in HNB cigarettes to indicate they are less unhealthy than regular cigarettes.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)