Pricey cigarettes might prompt even the rich to quit smoking

November 22, 2013


Should the price of a pack of cigarettes increase to 9,660 won, even the top 25 percent of income-earners would think twice about lighting up.

According to a survey of 800 smokers done by the Korea Health and Social Affairs, a price of 8,943 won per pack of cigarettes ㅡ up from the current average of about 2,500 ㅡ is the tipping point at which most smokers would start to think seriously about quitting.

That threshold naturally varies according to smokers’ incomes, with those in the bottom 25 percent income bracket saying 8,497 won per pack would prompt a lifestyle change, and those in the top 25 percent saying 9,660 won per pack would just be too much to pay.

Meanwhile, a related study showed that alcohol consumers aged above 19 would be willing to pay 85-99 won more for a 1,300 won (355ml) can of beer, and 64-84 won more for a 1,100 won (330ml) bottle of soju.

“Interestingly enough, people have a higher propensity to smoke than drink when prices are taken into consideration,” one researcher said.