Tricky smok­ing data

The Korea Times - - OPINION -

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.

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