Il­le­gal cig­a­rette sales to mi­nors down markedly since 2015

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL -

Il­le­gal sales of cig­a­rettes to mi­nors at con­ve­nience stores in Seoul have sharply fallen over the past five years, the gov­ern­ment of Seoul said Thurs­day, cit­ing data on its crack­downs.

Ac­cord­ing to the data, the ra­tio of il­le­gal cig­a­rette sales to youth by con­ve­nience stores in the cap­i­tal city dropped from 48.3 per­cent in 2015 to 37.3 per­cent in 2016, 32.7 per­cent in 2017 and 24.4 per­cent in 2018.

The ra­tio again fell to 17.8 per­cent this year, as ran­dom un­der­cover shop­ping con­ducted at 1,300 con­ve­nience stores in June net­ted 232 vi­o­la­tors, the metropoli­tan gov­ern­ment said.

Com­pared with 2015, the ra­tio of il­le­gal cig­a­rette sales marked a plunge of 30.5 per­cent­age points, it noted.

The Ju­ve­nile Pro­tec­tion Act bans sales of cig­a­rettes to peo­ple un­der the age of 19.

The ra­tio of con­ve­nience stores fail­ing to ver­ify the age of cig­a­rette buy­ers also de­creased from 47.6 per­cent in 2015 to 17.7 per­cent this year.

“Higher ra­tios of ID ver­i­fi­ca­tions for cig­a­rette shop­pers means stricter ob­ser­va­tion of the cig­a­rette sales ban for mi­nors,” a mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cial said.

The Seoul gov­ern­ment said it has steadily mon­i­tored and cracked down on il­le­gal cig­a­rette sales to youth by con­ve­nience stores and plans to ex­pand its mon­i­tor­ing to in­clude su­per­mar­kets and other re­tail­ers. Thanks to such ef­forts, Seoul’s youth smok­ing rate fell to 5.7 per­cent as of last year, it said, adding that the cor­re­spond­ing na­tional av­er­age rate was 6.7 per­cent.

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