Locked-Down Koreans Lean on Alcohol and Tobacco

  • By Kim Eun-jung

    January 06, 2021 12:00

    Sales of liquor and cigarettes rose to a new record last year as depressed Koreans were locked down at home.

    The coronavirus epidemic led to severe restrictions on leisure activities, and appears that many people drowned their sorrows in drink and smoked to relieve the stress.


    Alcohol and cigarettes accounted for a record W4.3 trillion of household spending in the third quarter of last year, according to the Bank of Korea on Monday (US$1=W1,090). The previous record was W4.2 trillion set in the fourth quarter of 2017.

    The average amount of money each household spent per month on liquor and cigarettes was a record W42,980 -- W19,651 on alcohol and W23,329 on cigarettes.

    But spending on social and other leisure activities fell to W12.4 trillion last year, a level last seen some eight years ago.

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