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A tobacco company and the Ministry of Health are locking horns in court, for a week-long battle over the sale of a new tobacco device.

Philip Morris is defending two charges over the sale of its HEETS tobacco stick, used in the IQOS electronic smokefree device.

It heats the tobacco sticks without burning, so that nicotine vapour can be inhaled.

But the Ministry of Health says the product isn't legal in New Zealand.