A recent study conducted in South Korea has shown that flavored tobacco ‘makes smoking easier and attracts new smokers’, according to a story in The Korea Biomedical Review citing the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDCP).
Professor Kim Hee-jin of Yonsei University led a research team to identify the role of smoking flavored cigarettes in smoking cessation and persistence. The study looked at 9,063 subjects aged 13 to 39.
The findings were said to have indicated that about 65 percent of the subjects used flavored cigarettes, and that usage levels were especially high among young people and women.
‘Among the research subjects, 73.1 percent of female smokers tended to smoke flavored cigarettes compared to 58.3 percent of male smokers,’ the Review reported.
‘By age, 68.3 percent of male subjects aged 13 to 18 and 82.7 percent of female subjects aged 19 to 24 smoked flavored cigarettes.’
The reasons given by the subjects for choosing flavored cigarettes included pleasant smell, less odor, and little to no physical discomfort.
Such characteristics were said also to have played a significant role in lowering perceptions of smoking hazards and health warnings.
“The coarse and uncomfortable trait of cigarette smoke acts as a barrier in the initial stage of attempting to smoke cigarettes,” said Oh Kyung-won, a KCDCP official.
However, he added, flavored cigarettes disguised these irritating properties, making it easier for people to try and maintain smoking than was the case in respect of non-flavored cigarettes.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare plans to submit a bill to regulate flavored cigarettes after consulting with other related ministries and agencies.