KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) -- Eastman Chemical opened a new plant in South Korea to produce a material used in cigarette filters.
The new plant in Ulsan is owned by Eastman Fibers Korea Limited, a joint venture between Eastman and SK Chemicals Co., the company said Tuesday.
Eastman controls the venture and will operate the plant, which was finished in December.
Education campaigns, smoking bans and high taxes have cut smoking rates in the U.S., yet demand is still growing in some regions of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
An estimated 30 percent of adults worldwide smoke, according to the World Health Organization. That's about 10 percent more than American adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Eastman Chemical plant makes acetate tow, which is used mostly as a raw material for cigarette filters. The new plant has 27,000 metric tons of capacity, increasing Eastman's overall capacity by about 15 percent, the company said.
Shares of Eastman Chemical Co. rose 14 cents to $62.72 in midday trading.