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Little correlation between cigarette prices and adult smoking rates

| September 11, 2012

South Korea’s cigarettes are the least expensive in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), while the country’s smoking rate is the group’s second highest, according to a Korea Herald story quoting figures from the European Commission.

The Commission surveyed the prices of the best-selling products in 22 OECD member nations this year.

At Won2,500 for a pack of 20 cigarettes, Korea had the lowest cigarette prices and had the  second-highest adult smoking rate, 44.3 per cent, following Greece, with 46.3 per cent.

“Increasing the prices of cigarettes is highly necessary in a time when the smoking rate for male and female senior high school students has reached 25 per cent and eight per cent,” a health ministry official was quoted as saying. “The most effective way to curb smoking is raise the prices of cigarettes.”

But this view doesn’t seem to be supported by the figures. A list published with the Herald story that showed the 10 OECD countries with the highest cigarette prices had Ireland at the top of the price league but also second from the top of the smoking incidence league.

Excluding Sweden, where the figures are heavily influenced by the availability and popularity of snus, the country with the lowest smoking incidence,Finland, was second from the bottom of the cigarette price league.

Category: Breaking News

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