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Cigarette-caused fires dip amid popularity of HNB tobacco products

2018/06/29 11:31

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SUWON, South Korea, June 29 (Yonhap) -- Fire accidents caused by cigarettes have sharply decreased due to the popularity of heat-not-burn tobacco products and heightened public awareness, data showed Friday.

According to the data released by the National Fire Agency, the number of fires caused by unextinguished cigarette butts, the leading cause of fire accidents, across the country between June 2017 and May 2018 decreased 14.8 percent from a year earlier to 5,846.

In the last five years, the number of fire accidents resulting from careless smoking was tallied at between 6,600 and 6,800 per year.

The fire authorities attributed the fall to the rising popularity of heat-not-burn cigarette products introduced to the local market in May last year.

An official at the Korea Fire Safety Institute said a fire accident takes place when there is something to initiate and expand combustion toward a fire source.

"The substitution of heat-not-burn tobacco products for traditional cigarettes with a potential unextinguished cigarette butt, identified as a commonplace fire source, is believed to have obviously helped decrease fire outbreaks," he said.

The market share for heat-not-burn tobacco products rose to 8.6 percent in February this year from 3 percent in July last year, according to the health ministry.

Compared with traditional cigarettes that produce a high temperature of 600 C or higher, heat-not-burn cigarette products generate a temperature of around 250 C and produce no embers that could lead to a fire accident.

South Korean smokers stand in long lines in front of an e-cigarette shop in Seoul on May 27, 2017, to purchase the heat-not-burn cigarette product IQOS. (Yonhap) South Korean smokers stand in long lines in front of an e-cigarette shop in Seoul on May 27, 2017, to purchase the heat-not-burn cigarette product IQOS. (Yonhap)

namsh@yna.co.kr

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