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20 pct of teens say price won't affect smoking: research

All News 09:59 June 11, 2016

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- Around 20 percent of South Korean teenagers who smoke say they have no plans to quit the habit regardless of cigarette prices, a study showed Saturday, indicating that local authorities should roll out other measures, including counseling, for youth health.

According to the study conducted by a team of medical experts at Yonsei University, 19.9 percent of boys and 25.1 percent of girls who smoke said their habits will not be affected by price. The study was conducted on 7,094 South Korean teenagers in 2013.

The researchers said while a policy-led hike in cigarette prices aims to induce heavy smokers to quit smoking, the findings showed that heavily addicted teens were less inclined to stop the habit regardless of the price tag.

"The impact of cigarette prices on smoking is insignificant considering the financial capabilities of the teens," the researchers said. "This shows that in order for anti-smoking policies to succeed, the authorities must conduct counseling and education alongside a price hike."

The country implemented a new law in 2015 that upped the average price of a pack of cigarettes by 2,000 won (US$1.72), nearly double, by adding a special excise tax and other indirect taxes on cigarettes.

Policymakers have claimed the rise in prices will force many people to quit smoking altogether, although detractors have argued it may not have the desired effect and only put an extra burden on consumers.

colin@yna.co.kr
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