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Korean youth first try smoking at age 12.7: report

All Headlines 11:37 October 30, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean youth who have smoked cigarettes took their first puff at the age of 12.7 as of last year, a government report showed Sunday.

The Korea Health Promotion Foundation said in the report that the average age when domestic youth first tried smoking dropped from 12.8 in 2011 to 12.7 in 2015. The foundation said the report was based on a poll of middle and high school students who have smoked before.

Students participate in an anti-smoking event in Seoul on July 13, 2016. (Yonhap file photo)

The report noted that Korean youth are much younger when they first smoke compared with children in other advanced countries.

In Canada, for instance, students in the sixth to 12th grades began smoking at age 13.6.

Australian smokers aged between 14 and 24 said they first tried smoking at age 15.9.

Meanwhile, the foundation said South Korean youth who smoke daily began when they were 13.6 years old as of 2015, compared with 17.6 for Europe and 17.7 for New Zealand.

"Preventive measures are necessary to prevent young students from smoking at such a premature age," the report concluded.

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