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Smoking in South Korea

Current smoking trends for the overall adult population in South Korea show a decrease from 2000 (35%) to 2015 (23%), with a projection to decrease further to 18% by 2025. For women there has been a downwards year by year trend in smoking prevalence, from 7% in 2000 to 6% in 2015, and with a projected drop to around 5.5% by 2025. For men the trend has also been downwards, but starting with a much higher prevalence of 64% being current smokers in 2000, 41% in 2015 and a projection to decrease further to around 31% by 2025. The WHO published prevalence trend estimates in tobacco smoking, as shown here, in their 2018 2nd edition report, which show slightly different smoking prevalence to the WHO country profiles. Data for the estimates were obtained from WHO databases. The trend lines are projections, not predictions, of future attainment. A projection indicates a likely endpoint if the country maintains its tobacco control efforts at the same level that it has implemented them to date. Therefore the impact of recent interventions could alter the expected endpoint shown in the projection. While the methods of estimation used in the first and second editions of the WHO report are the same, the volume of data available for the second edition is larger i.e. 200 more national surveys. The results presented are therefore more robust.

Read articles from South Korea

May 17, 2024 by

Korea Wants to Regulate Synthetic Nicotine as Tobacco

South Korea plans to regulate synthetic nicotine as tobacco by amending the Tobacco Business Act. Currently, the Act does not cover e-cigarette liquids made from synthetic nicotine, leading to a lack of product regulations including health warnings and taxes. The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Economy and Finance will work together on the revisions. The move comes after an announcement by BAT regarding a potential synthetic nicotine product release in South Korea. The growing popularity of e-cigarettes in the country has prompted the need for updated legislation to address this trend.

April 22, 2021 by

Underage smoking, drinking rates lower amid pandemic

The number of underage smokers and drinkers in Korea dropped significantly last year compared to the previous year, recent data from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) showed. The KDCA suggests this was a result of the decreased number of days where children attend school and reduced activities with peers amid the COVID-19 outbreak. [...] The figures represent the percentage of students who smoked at least one cigarette in the 30 days prior to the survey. The KDCA surveyed 54,948 students from 800 middle and high schools nationwide.

February 16, 2021 by

BAT Korea to reach wider audience with modified risk tobacco products through digital marketing

BAT Korea reaffirmed its plan to reach a wider audience with potentially-reduced risk products on Tuesday as it cited the success of recent digital marketing efforts to promote e-cigarettes.

“Sales promotions for Glo Pro last month took place both online and in-store and it was especially well received online and we managed to sell out the stock we prepared quicker than expected,” said Yu Jung-min, head of offline activation at BAT Korea during an online press event.

February 02, 2021 by

BAT Korea Focuses on Promoting Its Heated Tobacco Product on Its 30th Anniversary

British American Tobacco (BAT) Korea shared results from a study indicating that smokers who used its tobacco heating products (HTPs) reduced their exposure to certain toxicants found in regular cigarettes. The tobacco company said that a total of 13 toxicants, including nicotine, cotinine and aminopathalene, are reduced when one switches from smoking to using HTPs. “The slogan of the BAT Group, ‘A better tomorrow,’ represents [the company’s ambition] to create a better future by reducing the harm our business imposes [on people’s health] through satisfying and less damaging products,” said Kim. [...]

October 02, 2020 by

[News Focus] Why are Koreans loyal to Korean cigarettes?

Smoking culture in South Korea has seen a great change in the past decades. Smoking indoors and in public areas have been banned, and the number of smokers has been decreasing amid rising health consciousness.

New preferences for flavored cigarettes and less smelly products are proving popular, as well as technologies developed to introduce new ways of using the tobacco leaves, by heating and not burning.

Still, one thing in Korea remains the same. Korean people are loyal to Korean cigarettes, even after over 30 years have passed since a nationwide ban on imported cigarettes was lifted.

September 09, 2020 by

'FDA’s marketing order of heat-not-burn tobacco as modified risk should change regulatory regime'

Philip Morris International Korea expects that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s designation of IQOS, its heat-not-burn tobacco, as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) will prompt a change in the local tobacco regulations.

The FDA grants MRTP status to products that have demonstrated that is expected to benefit the population's health in general by reducing harmful or potentially harmful chemicals, PMI Korea said.

March 27, 2020 by

South Korean court delivers latest blow to e-cigarette makers

E-cigarette makers in South Korea suffered a further setback after the Constitutional Court swiftly dismissed a petition by an industry body challenging the government's warnings against the devices.

The court's decision, issued just two weeks after the original filing by the Korea Electronic Cigarette Association, comes amid increasing government pressure on the once-thriving industry, both in South Korea and elsewhere in Asia. Late last year, India banned e-cigarettes entirely.

January 29, 2020 by

Rivals join hands for global heated tobacco market

In a rare move in the competitive tobacco industry, South Korea’s KT&G established a strategic alliance with Philip Morris International on Wednesday, to expand the market worldwide for its heat-not-burn cigarette brand lil. The unusual partnership secures a global distribution network for KT&G, which has been domestic-centric until recently, while it would help PMI enhance its campaign of “smoke-free” cigarette products with the added portfolio. [...] “Our agreement will benefit adult smokers in the world by providing a wide array of better choices,” Calantzopoulos said.

December 12, 2019 by

E-liquids contain lung injury-causing chemical

A substance potentially causing serious lung diseases has been found in liquid e-cigarettes sold here, health authorities said, Thursday. The "vaping" products, however, did not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical that is said to be responsible for most cases of lung damage from vaping reported in the U.S. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced the results of its toxicity tests on seven potentially harmful ingredients in 153 liquid e-cigarette products, or e-liquids, amid growing anxiety among vapers following the health authorities' strong warning against using them issued in October.

September 24, 2019 by

Ministry advises smokers to stop using e-cigarettes

The Ministry of Health and Welfare has recommended smokers who use e-cigarettes to refrain from using their devices until it completes investigation into the relationship between the liquid-type e-cigarettes and lung diseases. "After coordinating with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), we will conduct a full-scale investigation for the ingredient analysis of liquid-type e-cigarettes," a health and welfare ministry official said.


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