SEOUL, 28 Jan. (Yonhap) — South Korea’s cigarette sales were nearly unchanged last year from a year earlier, but demand for e-cigarettes increased amid the protracted pandemic, the Chinese government said on Friday. Ministry of Finance.
South Korean smokers purchased 3.59 billion 20-cigarette packs in 2021, a similar number to the number recorded the previous year, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Demand for traditional cigarettes declined as people preferred the use of e-cigarettes amid tougher virus controls and an expansion of telework, according to the ministry.
Sales of traditional cigarettes fell 2% year-on-year to 3.15 billion packs last year, while those of smokeless tobacco products rose 17.1% to 440 million packs.
Cigarette sales fell 17.7% last year from 2014, a year before the country hiked tobacco prices.
The government said this indicated that the national anti-tobacco campaign had had an impact on tobacco control.
The country raised the price of cigarettes by 80% in January 2015, from 2,500 won ($2) a pack to 4,500 won in a bid to curb smoking.
The government required tobacco companies to place graphic images illustrating the harmful effects of smoking on the top of cigarette packs in 2016.
In 2020, the smoking rate among Korean men aged 19 or older hit an all-time high of 34 percent, down 1.7 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the health ministry.