Cigarette sales down 1.1 pct on campaign, higher prices

September 19, 2018

SEJONG, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) — Sales of cigarettes in South Korea declined 1.1 percent in the first eight months of 2018 from a year earlier due to a government-led anti-smoking campaign and higher prices, data showed Wednesday.

South Korean smokers purchased 2.31 billion 20-cigarette packs in the January-August period, compared with the previous year’s 2.34 billion packs, according to data compiled by the finance ministry.

Starting in January 2015, South Korea increased the price of cigarettes by 80 percent, from 2,500 won (US$2.25) per pack to 4,500 won, in an effort to curb smoking.

In 2016, South Korea mandated that tobacco companies put graphic warnings on the upper part of both sides of cigarette packs in a move to discourage people from smoking.

Meanwhile, the government collected a total of 7.6 trillion won (US$6.8 billion) in taxes from cigarette sales in the January-August period, up 1.3 percent from the previous year’s 7.5 trillion won, the latest data showed.