Price increase not working

| November 21, 2016

The spike in cigarette prices in South Korea at the beginning of last year did not help people give up smoking, according to a story in The Korea Herald citing a Yonhap News Agency report and quoting the latest data from the Seoul city government.

Altogether, 69,982 people were enrolled in stop-smoking clinics and centers in the capital city in 2014, and 39,858 succeeded in giving up the habit.

In 2015, after the government raised taxes and the price for a pack of cigarettes increased by 2,000 won ($1.70) to about 4,500 won, 108,649 people registered at anti-smoking centers around the city and 33,279 of them had quit their habit by the end of the year.

“There was an increase in smokers wanting to quit after prices went up, but this did not translate into a rise in the number of people who actually succeeded,” a municipal official said.

He pointed out that the overall number of people who succeeded in giving up smoking backtracked by 6,579 between 2014 and 2015.

“This shows that despite efforts to curb smoking by marking up prices, the results did not meet expectations set by the central government,” he said.

From January through September 2016, 56,321 people had signed up to anti-smoking clinics but only 15,548 had been successful, which seems to suggest that by the end of 2016, fewer people will have attended stop-smoking clinics than did so in 2015, and fewer will have quit.

City authorities attributed the decline to people becoming more accustomed to the higher prices.

They said that to get more people to stop smoking, a more thorough examination of anti-smoking policies needed to be explored, with every effort being made to assist people who expressed a desire to quit.

Category: Breaking News

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