A man uses a vape device in this illustration picture. File photo/Reuters
South Korea’s health minister on Wednesday “strongly advised” the public to stop using liquid e-cigarettes as growing health concerns fuel a global backlash against vaping.
Countries around the world have been pulling electronic cigarette products from markets and restricting advertising as vaping faces increased scrutiny.
“The current situation is considered as a grave threat to public health,” South Korea’s health minister Park Neung-hoo told a briefing, citing cases of lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use in the United States.
Park said the government would expedite its own studies to determine if there was a scientific basis to ban sales of liquid e-cigarettes.
US health officials have so far reported 33 deaths and 1,479 confirmed and probable cases from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping.
A pneumonia case of a South Korean e-cigarette user was reported this month, the health ministry said.
The United States has announced plans to remove flavoured e-cigarettes from stores, citing alarming growth in teenage use of the products
India also discontinued the sale of e-cigarettes in September.
South Korea’s health ministry also vowed to tighten regulations on vaping products such as strengthening customs procedures for imported liquid of e-cigarettes.
Following the government’s decision, the Korea office of US e-cigarette maker Juul Labs said in a statement their products had no harmful substances. Juul began sales in South Korea in May.
E-cigarettes - both liquid and the heat-not-burn types - are widely available in South Korea, accounting for 13% of its tobacco market by sales as of June, according to government data.
South Korea warned Japan on Thursday that it would be forced to review security cooperation between the two key US allies if Tokyo pushes ahead with plans to remove Seoul from its “white list”
The spectre of new confrontation between Pyongyang and Washington hangs over meetings between China, Japan and South Korea this week, with growing risks North Korean actions could end an uneasy detente and upend recent diplomatic efforts.
Horton, who took silver behind Sun at the weekend, refused to step onto the top step of the podium for photos after the medal ceremony in Gwangju, as doping allegations swirl around Sun.
Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said police were alerted by members of the public to the incident at Scenery Park, about three kms from the city centre.
"While this bill doesn't do everything I want, it does include actions I've long called for that are going to save lives," he said at the White House before leaving for two major diplomatic summits in Europe.
Four explosions were heard at around 6:30am (0330 GMT), half an hour after air raid sirens sounded in the capital, which has not come under Russian bombardment for nearly three weeks.