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Cigarette sales in S. Korea edge up in Q3 despite higher prices

All Headlines 14:55 October 10, 2016

SEJONG, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- Sales of cigarettes in South Korea edged up from a year earlier in the third quarter of this year despite the government-led anti-smoking campaign, government data showed Monday.

South Korean smokers purchased 990 million packs of cigarettes during the July-September period, up 0.6 percent from 980 million sold a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

The quarterly figure, however, marked an 18-percent plunge from 1.2 billion packs sold over the same period in 2014 before the cigarette prices were raised, the ministry added.

Starting from 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 the first nine months of the year, tobacco sales rose 13.3 percent on-year to 2.76 billion packs over the same period last year, while industry experts noted that the effect of the price hike has been dissipating throughout 2016.

From two years ago, the 2016 sales through September fell 14.6 percent from 3.24 billion packs.

The finance ministry expected the cigarette sales to reach 3.66 billion packs at the end of 2016, up 10 percent from 3.33 billion packs sold last year but down 16 percent from 4.36 billion in 2014.

Earlier this year, the government said the smoking rate among South Koreans aged 19 or older dropped to 39.3 percent last year from 43.1 percent in 2014, on the back of its anti-smoking campaign that included a price hike.

As part of its renewed push, graphic images of the damage done to internal organs by smoking will be placed on the upper part of cigarette packets starting December.

Cigarette sales in S. Korea edge up in Q3 despite higher prices - 1

brk@yna.co.kr
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