The Ministry of Health and Welfare is contemplating doubling cigarette prices within the year.
The ministry said on Tuesday "Cigarette prices in Korea are the lowest among the OECD nations while Korea has the highest smoking rate among men in the OECD.
"The ministry set a goal to lower smoking rates among men to 29 percent by 2020," health minister Moon Hyung-pyo said. "Research suggests that cigarette prices need to be hiked up to W4,500 (US$1=W1,018) in order to decrease smoking rates."
"It is especially effective to reduce the smoking rate among adolescents and the low-income population who are sensitive to prices," Moon added.
The price of cigarettes in Korea has remained the same since it was last raised by W500 in December 2004.