August 22, 2008 - Smoking among Democratic People's Republic of Korea (South Korea) adult males continues to fall amid cigarette tax hikes and anti-smoking campaigns. South Korea's smoking rate for adult males stood at 40.4 percent in the first half of this year, down 1.4 percentage points from last year, according to a survey of 2,000 adult males conducted by Gallup Korea on behalf of the Health Ministry. (The smoking rate peaked at 79.3 percent in 1980, fell to the 50-percent mark for the first time in March 2007 and slid to 45.9 percent in September the same year. Health officials predict it will drop to the upper-30-percent range by the end of 2008.)
The rate for females, which rose to 4.6 percent last year, dropped to 3.7 percent in the first half of the year.
The tapering of male adult smoking was attributed largely to an increase in cigarette prices. In December 2004, the government slapped an additional 500 won tax ($0.53) per cigarette pack. Currently, most cigarettes in South Korea cost between 2,000 won ($1.87) and 3,000 won ($2.82) per pack.
The ministry added that its continued anti-smoking ad campaign and counseling programs have contributed to raising public awareness about smoking's negative effects on health.
Reference: Smoking Rate Among Male Adults Falls to 40%, The Korea Times, 8/21/2008.
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) - the global anti-tobacco treaty.