Tricky smoking data
The number of smokers in South Korea has dropped considerably in the past two decades, but the use of e-cigarettes has increased rapidly in recent years, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Sunday.
These were the results of two separate surveys, one conducted on 10,000 people from 4,416 households and the other on 60,000 middle and high school students from 800 schools. The smoking rate for people aged over 19 was 22.4 percent in 2018, compared to 35.1 percent in 1998. For men, the number stood at 36.7 percent compared to 66.3 percent in 1998. The percentage of smoking women was 7.5 percent in 2018, while it was 6.5 percent in 1998.
It is a good thing that the country’s smoking rate has decreased drastically. This is partly thanks to the government’s steady increases of cigarette prices and strong anti-smoking campaigns.
But the survey also showed the use of e-cigarettes has been rising fast in recent years, especially among young people. Smokers using e-cigarettes accounted for 4.3 percent in 2018, the highest since the government began compiling related data in 2013.
The nation’s anti-smoking efforts cannot succeed if it fails to deal with the growing popularity of e-cigarettes.