More Smokers Switch to Electronic Cigarettes in South Korea

    More Smokers Switch to Electronic Cigarettes in South Korea

    More Smokers Switch to Electronic Cigarettes in South Korea

    In recent years, the government of South Korea has tried to curb the country’s smoking rate through raising prices of cigarette and putting gruesome pictures on the packs of a cigarette with the aim of reducing people’s nicotine cravings.

    These efforts seem to have paid off, though not to a great extent. According to the latest government data, in 2018, the rate of smoking among men aged 19 and over was 20.3%. Down 0.5 percentage points from 2016. The sales of cigarettes have been on a decline for the last two years, too.

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance said 3.1 billion packs of cigarettes were sold from January to November this year. 50 million packs fewer compared with the same period last year.

    It said cigarette prices rose to 4,500 won in 2015 from 2,500 won ($2.20). Which led to a sharp drop in sales by 1 billion packs to 3.32 billion packs compared with the previous year. “Since 2015, the price of traditional cigarettes has risen 80 percent and the sales of tobacco cigarettes have fallen sharply,” said the health ministry.

    The Surge in Sales of e-cigarettes

    More Smokers Switch to Electronic Cigarettes in South Korea
    More Smokers Switch to Electronic Cigarettes in South Korea

    One notable thing is that more and more smokers switch to electronic cigarettes. In November 2018, about 32.5 million e-cigarettes were sold, which accounts for 11.3 percent of the total tobacco sales.

    Compared with 2017 when e-cigarettes had a market share of just 7.3%, it is a drastic surge. Sales of tobacco cigarettes have plummeted since prices rose in 2015, while sales of e-cigarettes have soared, the ministry said.

    However, the NCTC (National Tobacco Control Center) found that many e-cigarette users also smoked traditional cigarettes, which increases their total cigarette consumption.

    The Surge in Sales of e-cigarettes Continued

    The survey with a sample size of more than 200 smokers was published in the British Medical Journal in August.

    Many e-cigarette users started with the aim of stopping smoking, believing that e-cigarettes are less harmful compared to traditional cigarettes.

    About 27 countries and states throughout the world, including America, China, and Hong Kong have imposed restrictions on e-cigarettes. These countries say e-cigarettes also contain harmful substances. According to some experts, the reason why e-cigarettes gain popularity is that there is less odor than traditional cigarettes.

    Harmful Ingredients and Frightening Pictures

    More Smokers Switch to Electronic Cigarettes in South Korea
    More Smokers Switch to Electronic Cigarettes in South Korea

    Nicotine, the main psychoactive chemical in cigarettes, is highly addictive. Smoking is also the single greatest cause of preventable death worldwide. Cigarettes can produce an aerosol which contains more 4,000 chemical compounds. Including 70 carcinogen substances.

    On average, smoking a cigarette shortens one’s life by 11 minutes, according to Wikipedia. According to the estimation of WHO (World Health Organization), smoking cigarettes caused 5.4 million deaths in 2004 and 100 million deaths in the 20th century.

    South Korean Government 

    In order to issue a stronger warning about the dangers of cigarettes, the government of South Korea has recently changed the warning pictures on the packs of cigarettes. In 2016, South Korea forced tobacco companies to print graphic warnings of side effects of smoking on cigarette packs. The photo must cover 30% of the packaging on either side.

    Korean government changes the graphic warning sign every two years. This time, 12 new images were printed on cigarette packages, including electronic cigarette packs used for the devices. The new images show that smokers may suffer from deadly diseases, including lung cancer, oral cancer, laryngeal cancer, heart attack, and stroke. They also carry written warnings about other side effects of smoking such as premature death and sexual dysfunction.


    Ryan is a writer, editor and content creator who spends most of his time bringing the interesting, entertaining, original and well-written articles to vapers. He believes that vaping is not only a healthier alternative to smoking, but also a great experience of life.