SEOUL, March 24 (Korea Bizwire) — The smoking rate of South Koreans aged 19 and older fell below 20 percent for the first time in 2020 amid growing public awareness of health and the government’s anti-smoking drive, a report showed Thursday.
The smoking rate of Korean adults came to a record low of 19.2 percent in 2020, down 1 percentage point from 20.2 percent a year earlier, according to the report by Statistics Korea.
The smoking rate fell 7.7 percentage points from 26.9 percent in 2010.
The tally covers those who have consumed more than five packs of cigarettes over their lifetime and are currently smoking.
In 2020, the smoking rate among Korean men aged 19 and older reached a record low of 33 percent, down from 34.7 percent a year earlier.
The corresponding rate for Korean women aged 19 and older came to 5.5 percent, down from 5.9 percent in 2019.
The country’s smoking rate has been on the decline since the government raised the price of cigarettes by 80 percent in January 2015 to 4,500 won (US$3.7) per pack from 2,500 won.
The report also showed the rate of alcohol consumption by Korean adults fell to 55.2 percent in 2020 from 57.7 percent a year earlier. It was down from 59.3 percent in 2010.
The corresponding rate for Korean men aged 19 and older came to 68.7 percent in the cited period, down from 72.4 percent in 2019.
But the rate of heavy drinking rose to 13.1 percent in 2020 from 12.1 percent a year earlier.
The tally measures the rate of people who drink alcohol more than twice per week and consume more than seven glasses of alcohol on average for men and five for women.