Fewer Men Smoke

      May 11, 2016 09:38

      Smoking declined to less than 40 percent of the adult male population for the first time last year. The rate has roughly halved since 1980, when it was nearly 80 percent.

      The Ministry of Health and Welfare on Tuesday said the smoking rate among men was 39.3 percent in 2015 based on statistics compiled in a nationwide health and nutrition survey of 10,000 people.

      The decline is attributed to the cigarette price rise by W2,000 per pack in 2015 and the expansion of non-smoking areas (US$1=W1,173).

      Last year, cigarette sales dropped 23.7 percent to 3.3 billion packs from 4.3 billion packs a year earlier.

      But it seems unlikely that the government will achieve its target of 29 percent by 2020. In 2005, the smoking rate also dropped temporarily after the cigarette price rose by W500, but then it rose again and stagnated from 2008 to 2011.

      The cigarette price hike also boosted the number of smokers of e-cigarettes by 2.7 percentage points last year, up from 4.4 percent a year earlier.

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