Cigarette sales down

    Sales of cigarettes in South Korea in February were down 9.8 percent on those of a year earlier, according to a Yonhap News Agency story.

    The fall in sales was attributed to a concerted anti-smoking campaign and higher prices.

    Data compiled by the Ministry of Economics and Finance and published today showed that South Korean smokers bought 235.5 million 20-piece packs during February, down from 261.2 million during February last year.

    The 2019 February figure was down 14.1 percent on that of February 2014.

    Cigarette prices were increased by 80 percent in January 2015, from 2,500 won (US$2.20) per pack to 4,500 won, largely through the imposition of a tax hike.

    And in 2016, the Government mandated that tobacco companies place graphic health warnings on the upper part of cigarette packs.

    However, while combustible-cigarette consumption is falling, the consumption of vapor products is headed in the other direction.

    Sales of heat-not-burn tobacco products reached 29.4 million packs in February, accounting for 12.5 percent of the country’s total tobacco market.

    Such sales accounted for 8.5 percent of the market in February 2018.