SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Korea Bizwire) — The majority of South Koreans think graphic warning images should cover more than 80 percent of cigarette packs, a poll showed Thursday.
Pictorial warnings currently cover half of cigarette packs under the relevant law.
Of the 1,500 surveyed that included 634 smokers, 27.6 percent of adults and 29.2 percent of youths said the graphic warning images should be enlarged to cover more of the packs. The survey was carried out by the Korea Health Promotion Institute last year.
According to 13.1 percent of those surveyed, the graphic images should cover more than 90 percent, while 17 percent of adults and 17.3 percent of adolescents said the entire package should be wrapped in images to show the dangers of smoking.
Only 24.6 percent of adults and 17.1 percent of juveniles supported the current 50 percent limit.
The survey also found that people are more impressed by pictorial warnings than warning phrases alone.
On a one to five scale, graphic warnings had a greater effect at 3.94 compared to 2.41 for warning phrases.
South Korea’s smoking rate rose to 23.9 percent in 2016 from 22.6 percent in 2015.
The country’s smoking rate for men stood at 31 percent in 2015, the highest among 15 member states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for which statistics are available.
Japan came in second with 30 percent and Italy third at 25 percent.
As part of an anti-smoking campaign, the government increased taxes on cigarettes by 2,000 won (US$1.70) per pack, effective Jan. 1, 2015, raising the price to 4,500 won per pack.
South Korea has also mandated that tobacco companies place graphic images showing the harmful effects of smoking on the upper part of the front and back of cigarette packaging.
The graphic warning images must be placed on packets of e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco, too.
The government has also been expanding nonsmoking zones in public places for the past few years.