A controversy is brewing over the legal basis of the Korean government’s recommendation to refrain from using e-liquid. The government blames recent lung illnesses caused by vitamin e acetate on nicotine vapor products. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said all illnesses in the US are related to THC-based vapor products, not nicotine.
As the recommendation has weak legal binding power, there is the possibility of e-liquid distributors and manufacturers backlashing and filing an administrative lawsuit against it.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is conducting an e-cigarette risk investigation. Minister Lee Eui-kyung was supposed to announce the results of the probe in November, but no announcement has been made so far according to a story at businesskorea.co.kr.
Small and medium-sized distributors of e-liquid complained that damage to their business will definitely grow until a clear analysis comes out. If they set out to litigate, the recommendation can be a bone of contention as it does not have a clear legal basis.
If the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety fails to prove a correlation between e-liquid and suspected cases of lung diseases in Korea, the government’s recommendations may face a lawsuit, according to the story.
On the other hand, if the harmfulness of e-liquid is proved, e-tobacco companies may be hold legally accountable. Although convenience store companies began to voluntarily suspend e-cigarette sales after the government recommended the disuse of e-cigarette twice, Korean tobacco companies including KT & G did not take active measures.