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Cigarette sales rise despite antismoking campaign

All News 09:56 July 20, 2016

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- Sales of cigarettes in South Korea rose about 14 percent in the first half of the year, despite last year's price hike and the government's antismoking campaign, according to industry data Wednesday.

Smokers in South Korea purchased 35.3 billion cigarettes in the first six months of the year, compared with 31 billion cigarettes sold during the same period last year, the data by market researcher Neilsen showed.

Early last year, South Korea increased the price of cigarettes by 80 percent, from 2,500 won (US$2.18) per pack to 4,500 won, in an effort to curb smoking. The government has also expanded no-smoking zones.

Tobacco sales stood at 5.7 billion cigarettes in January, 5.3 billion in February, 5.8 billion in March, 5.8 billion in April, 6.3 billion in May and 6.3 billion in June, according to the data.

In May, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said the smoking rate among South Koreans, aged 19 or older, dropped to 39.3 percent last year from 43.1 percent in 2014.

It marked the first time that South Korea's smoking rate fell below 40 percent, the ministry said.


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