Philip Morris sues South Korea to disclose info in e-cigarette test

Philip Morris sues South Korea to disclose info in e-cigarette test
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Phillip Morris Korea Inc. is suing the South Korean government, the company said Monday in a statement, for the disclosure of the data used in a study concluding that electronic cigarettes contain a number of harmful substances. 

South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety reported in June that it had conducted a study that found five cancer-causing substances in the e-cigarettes, according to Reuters. The ministry also found that two types of e-cigarettes contain more tar than regular cigarettes, including Philip Morris' iQOS.

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The study's conclusion contradicts findings from studies in Germany, Japan and China that Philip Morris often displays as evidence that its products are safer than regular cigarettes, according to Reuters.

The company filed its suit in Seoul Administrative Court after the ministry refused to disclose the data it used in its study.

Philip Morris claims that the report's focus on tar is misleading and that the substance is only dangerous in regular cigarettes, where smoke is created.

"The assessment conclusions focused on 'tar', an outdated and potentially misleading measure, rather than on the relatively lower levels of harmful compounds, which the ministry acknowledged to be dramatically lower in heated tobacco product aerosol than in cigarette smoke,” the company's U.S. Media Relations and Engagement manager Corey Henry told The Hill in a statement.

"Obviously, the best choice is to quit smoking altogether; but the millions of Koreans who smoke have a right to choose better options based on accurate and non-misleading information," he added.

E-cigarrettes have rapidly climbed in popularity in Korea since the devices launched there last year, Reuters reports.