South Korea’s anti-forces are having to fight a rearguard action as their success in getting the government to impose an eye-watering tax increase at the beginning of this year is creating a surge in interest in electronic cigarettes.
An idea of the state of panic that is being created by these devices can be judge from media reports. The Korea Times managed to find a house in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang Province, where an electronic cigarette had exploded while being charged overnight. Nobody was hurt and nothing, apart from the electronic cigarette, was damaged.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare is said now to be focusing on the safety of electronic cigarettes. “We found that the gas emitted by electronic cigarettes contains nicotine twice as much as in a traditional cigarette,” Ryu Geun-hyeok, the ministry’s bureau chief of health policy, was quoted as saying.
“Inhaling an e-cigarette 150 times consecutively could even kill you,” he added.
Ryu was later quoted as saying that the ministry ‘will continue to work hard to prevent health damage caused by second-hand smoking from e-cigarettes’.
But smokers seem to be a little savvier than the ministry is. According to the ministry, 11 percent of males and six percent of females have smoked an e-cigarette at least once in their lifetime, and these numbers are expected ‘to shoot up in the near future’.