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Cigarette sales down 0.7% in 2019 on higher prices


Sales of cigarettes in South Korea fell 0.7 percent in 2019 from a year earlier due to the government-led anti-smoking campaign and higher prices, data showed Wednesday.

Smokers purchased 3.45 billion 20-cigarette packs last year, compared with the previous year's 3.47 billion packs, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The figure represents a 20.9 percent drop from 2014, a year before South Korea increased the price of cigarettes by 80 percent, from 2,500 won ($2.14) per pack to 4,500 won.

The price hike, which went into effect in January 2015, was meant to curb smoking.

In 2016, South Korea also mandated tobacco companies to put graphic warnings on the upper part of both sides of cigarette packs in a move to reduce smoking.

Sales of traditional cigarettes fell 2.4 percent on-year to 3.06 billion packs in 2019, while those of heat-not-burn electronic cigarettes rose 9.3 percent to 360 million packs last year.

Meanwhile, the government collected 11 trillion won in taxes from cigarette sales in 2019, down 6.5 percent from the previous year. (Yonhap)