January 4, 2011 - Smoking in South Korea is the leading cause of death in the country, an estimated 49,000 people die each year of smoking-related diseases according to the private Korean Association of Smoking and Health. Cigarette consumption compared to other countries..
Korean smokers are willing to say no to cigarettes if a pack costs more than 8,055.6 won (7.17 USD), the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Sunday, January 2nd. The expansion of non-smoking areas, a hike in tobacco prices, a harsh crackdown on smoking in non-smoking zones and anti-smoking publicity campaigns have been cited as effective tools in slashing the nation’s smoking rates.
In a survey of 3,000 men and women across the country, 49.3 percent of respondents said raising cigarettes prices have dampened and will dampen tobacco consumption, with an average smoker willing to quit the habit if a pack of cigarettes goes up beyond 8,055.6 won. Only 22.7 percent said the current price for a pack of cigarettes (2,500 won) was expensive.
The ministry said the smoking rate among Koreans over 19 stood at 20.7 percent in December, down from 23.3 percent a year earlier.
The rate for adult men also dropped to 39.6 percent from 43.1 percent over the same period, meaning that fewer than four out of every 10 Korean men smoke a cigarette regularly. About 2.2 percent of adult women were found to light up, down from 3.9 percent in December 2009.
An increasing number of young men are picking up the habit. The smoking rate for 30-somethings jumped to 52.2 percent in December from 48.5 percent six months ago, with the rate for 20-somethings rising to 40.9 percent from 38.2 percent. Additionally, 5.8 percent of women under 29 were found to smoke cigarettes, accounting for the majority of female smokers.
The ministry also said an average smoker starts lighting up at the age of 21.1 years and becomes a frequent smoker five months later.
Stress (32.5 percent), lack of willpower (25.3 percent) and nicotine addiction (22.9 percent) are cited by smokers as reasons for not being able to stop smoking.
For more see reference below.
Reference: People will quit smoking at 8,000 won a pack by Lee Hyo-sik, KoreaTimes.co.kr, 1/2/2011.
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