[THE INVESTOR] Sales of cigarettes in Korea fell 1.5 percent in 2018 from a year earlier due to the government-led anti-smoking campaign and higher prices, data showed on Jan. 25.
Smokers purchased 3.47 billion 20-cigarette packs last year, compared with the previous year’s 3.52 billion packs, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The figure represents a 20.4 percent drop from 2014, a year before Korea increased the price of cigarettes by 80 percent, from 2,500 won (US$2.20) per pack to 4,500 won.
The price hike, which went into effect in January 2015, was meant to curb smoking.
In 2016, 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 8.9 percent on-year to 3.14 billion packs in 2018, while those of heat-not-burn electronic cigarettes jumped to 332 million packs in 2018, compared with 79 million packs in 2017.
Heat-not-burn cigarettes accounted for 9.6 percent of the country’s total tobacco market in 2018, compared with 2.2 percent of the market in 2017.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)