• May 19, 2024

Tax increase ‘effective’

 Tax increase ‘effective’

The cigarette tax- and price-hike that was imposed in South Korea at the beginning of 2015 has been effective in discouraging smoking amongst low-income earners and young people, but not in the case of high-income earners, according to a story in The Korea Herald citing the results of a public health and nutrition survey by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

An increase in taxes in January 2015 took the price of cigarettes from 2,500 won to 4,500 won.

The survey found that the smoking rate among low-income males fell from 45.9 percent in 2014 to 40.6 percent the following year, but increased in 2016 to 41.1 percent.

“There were claims that the cigarette price hike will increase the burden of ordinary people whose smoking rate is comparatively higher,” a ministry official was quoted as saying. “The effect of making people quit smoking was definitely clear among people who have less money.”

The smoking rate among middle- and high-school ‘boys’ fell from 14.0 percent in 2014 to 11.9 percent in 2015 and to 9.5 percent in 2016 and 2017.

For high-income earners, the smoking rate fell from 38.2 percent in 2014 to 35.9 percent in 2015 but increased to 38.5 percent in 2016.

Meanwhile, the ministry said the number of people enrolling in programs to quit smoking had gone from 450,000 in 2014 to 870,000 the following year. Last year, 830,000 people enrolled.