Court says limiting advertisements on e-cigarettes legal

A Seoul court ruled today that limiting advertisements on electronic cigarettes containing nicotine is legal since they are another kind of “tobacco” defined by law.

A local importer of e-cigarettes filed a suit last June against the Seoul Metropolitan Government after it put a restriction on the company’s online ad campaigns for the products.The Seoul Administrative Court ruled in favor of the local government, saying the gadget amounts to real tobacco.

Electronic cigarette

Electronic cigarette

E-cigarettes, made of plastic and metal, carry a disposable cartridge filed with a solution of liquid nicotine.When the solution is heated, it creates a vapor that smokers inhale.

“The current law defines cigarettes as all products that make tobacco available for smoking, chewing or smelling. It also stipulates that all cigarette substitutes should be subject to the same regulations as traditional cigarettes,” Judge Ahn Cheol-sang of the court said in a verdict.”The e-cigarettes in this case contain nicotine concentrate extracted from tobacco and allow users to inhale them. Therefore, they fall in the same category as traditional cigarettes.”

By law, cigarette sellers are only allowed to run advertisements up to 60 times per year in periodicals that are published less than once a week. The cigarette manufacturers are also banned from directly promoting their products even when they sponsor events.With the increasing popularity of the new device in South Korea since late 2007, being touted for not emitting smoke and having no cancer-causing agents, there have been debates over whether its sellers should face the same restrictions as traditional cigarette companies.

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