Tuberc Respir Dis.  2020 Jan;83(1):71-80. 10.4046/trd.2019.0011.

Positive Effects of the National Cigarette Price Increase Policy on Smoking Cessation in South Korea

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Biostatistics Collaboration Unit, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


In January 2015, South Korea's government raised the cigarette tax, and the retail price of cigarettes abruptly increased by 80% compared to the previous year. This research aimed to determine the effect of this increase on smoking cessation among South Korean smokers.
We analyzed data collected by the 2013-2015 South Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 15,203 South Koreans over 19 years old using regression analysis. We examined the recent non-smoking period of nonsmoking people, prepared according to the survey, and analyzed the recent smoking cessation ratio.
Among smokers, from 2013 to 2014, the smoking cessation rate was 7.2%, and it increased to 9.9% in 2015 after the increase in the cigarette tax. In 2015, the recent smoking cessation rate was higher among people over the age of 60 (odds ratio [OR], 2.67) compared to those between the ages of 40 and 49. The recent smoking cessation rate was higher among people with below elementary education (OR, 2.28) and above university education (OR, 1.94) compared to high school, higher for those with apartments (OR, 1.74) compared to general type residences, and higher among those with a household income in the low-middle quartile (Q2) (OR, 2.32) compared to the highest quartile (Q4).
This innovative policy including increase in cigarette prices affected smoking cessation, and its impact varied by sub-group of smokers in South Korea.


Cigarette Price; South Korea; Smoking; Policy

MeSH Terms

Family Characteristics
Nutrition Surveys
Smoking Cessation*
Tobacco Products*


  • Figure 1 Effects of abrupt cigarette price increase on recent smoking cessation rate in Korea. (A) The price change for one pack of cigarettes from 1989 to 2015 in Korea. (B) Habit changes after cigarette price increase. (C) Changes in recent smoking cessation rates before (2013–2014) and after (2015) cigarette price increase. *p<0.05 signifies changes in recent smoking cessation rates according to year.

Cited by  1 articles

E-cigarette-associated Severe Pneumonia in Korea Using Data Linkage between the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES, 2013–2019) and the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) Claims Database
Hye Seon Kang, Jae Yeol Kim, Hye Jung Park, Jae-Woo Jung, Hye Sook Choi, Jong Sook Park, Joo Hun Park, Sang Haak Lee, Eun Mi Chun, Yoojung Cho, Eunhee Rhee, Beom Seuk Hwang,
J Korean Med Sci. 2021;36(48):e331.    doi: 10.3346/jkms.2021.36.e331.


1. Chelwa G, van Walbeek C, Blecher E. Evaluating South Africa's tobacco control policy using a synthetic control method. Tob Control. 2016; 26:509–517. PMID: 27601453.
2. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD Factbook 2013. Paris: OECD;2013.
3. Kang E. Assessing health impacts of pictorial health warning labels on cigarette packs in Korea using DYNAMO-HIA. J Prev Med Public Health. 2017; 50:251–261. PMID: 28768403.
4. Choi S, Kim Y, Park S, Lee J, Oh K. Trends in cigarette smoking among adolescents and adults in South Korea. Epidemiol Health. 2014; 36:e2014023. PMID: 25358464.
5. Levy DT, Cho SI, Kim YM, Park S, Suh MK, Kam S. SimSmoke model evaluation of the effect of tobacco control policies in Korea: the unknown success story. Am J Public Health. 2010; 100:1267–1273. PMID: 20466968.
6. Kim Y. The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES): current status and challenges. Epidemiol Health. 2014; 36:e2014002. PMID: 24839580.
7. Warner KE. Death and taxes: using the latter to reduce the former. Tob Control. 2014; 23 Suppl 1:i4–i6. PMID: 23697647.
8. Chaloupka FJ, Yurekli A, Fong GT. Tobacco taxes as a tobacco control strategy. Tob Control. 2012; 21:172–180. PMID: 22345242.
9. Guindon GE, Paraje GR, Chaloupka FJ. The impact of prices and taxes on the use of tobacco products in Latin America and the Caribbean. Am J Public Health. 2015; 105:e9–e19.
10. Bader P, Boisclair D, Ferrence R. Effects of tobacco taxation and pricing on smoking behavior in high risk populations: a knowledge synthesis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011; 8:4118–4139. PMID: 22163198.
11. Guindon GE. The impact of tobacco prices on smoking onset: a methodological review. Tob Control. 2014; 23:e5. PMID: 23475754.
12. Yun WJ, Rhee JA, Kim SA, Kweon SS, Lee YH, Ryu SY, et al. Household and area income levels are associated with smoking status in the Korean adult population. BMC Public Health. 2015; 15:39. PMID: 25636365.
13. Brown T, Platt S, Amos A. Equity impact of population-level interventions and policies to reduce smoking in adults: a systematic review. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014; 138:7–16. PMID: 24674707.
14. Siahpush M, Wakefield MA, Spittal MJ, Durkin SJ, Scollo MM. Taxation reduces social disparities in adult smoking prevalence. Am J Prev Med. 2009; 36:285–291. PMID: 19201146.
15. Tramacere I, Gallus S, Pacifici R, Zuccaro P, Colombo P, La Vecchia C. Smoking in young and adult population, Italy 2009. Tumori. 2011; 97:423–427. PMID: 21989428.
16. Gigliotti A, Figueiredo VC, Madruga CS, Marques AC, Pinsky I, Caetano R, et al. How smokers may react to cigarette taxes and price increases in Brazil: data from a national survey. BMC Public Health. 2014; 14:327. PMID: 24712903.
17. Hartmann-Boyce J, McRobbie H, Bullen C, Begh R, Stead LF, Hajek P. Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016; 9:CD010216. PMID: 27622384.
18. Marchese ME, Shamo F, Miller CE, Wahl RL, Li Y. Racial disparities in asthma hospitalizations following implementation of the smoke-free air law, Michigan, 2002-2012. Prev Chronic Dis. 2015; 12:E201. PMID: 26583573.
19. Dove MS, Dockery DW, Mittleman MA, Schwartz J, Sullivan EM, Keithly L, et al. The impact of Massachusetts' smoke-free workplace laws on acute myocardial infarction deaths. Am J Public Health. 2010; 100:2206–2212. PMID: 20864706.
20. Lortet-Tieulent J, Goding Sauer A, Siegel RL, Miller KD, Islami F, Fedewa SA, et al. State-Level Cancer Mortality Attributable to Cigarette Smoking in the United States. JAMA Intern Med. 2016; 176:1792–1798. PMID: 27775761.
21. Ordonez-Mena JM, Schottker B, Mons U, Jenab M, Freisling H, Bueno-de-Mesquita B, et al. Quantification of the smokingassociated cancer risk with rate advancement periods: metaanalysis of individual participant data from cohorts of the CHANCES consortium. BMC Med. 2016; 14:62. PMID: 27044418.
22. Haddad L, Kelly DL, Weglicki LS, Barnett TE, Ferrell AV, Ghadban R. A systematic review of effects of waterpipe smoking on cardiovascular and respiratory health outcomes. Tob Use Insights. 2016; 9:13–28. PMID: 27398028.
23. Lee CH, Lee KH, Jang AH, Yoo CG. The impact of autophagy on the cigarette smoke extract-induced apoptosis of bronchial epithelial cells. Tuberc Respir Dis. 2017; 80:83–89.
24. Vardavas CI, Hohmann C, Patelarou E, Martinez D, Henderson AJ, Granell R, et al. The independent role of prenatal and postnatal exposure to active and passive smoking on the development of early wheeze in children. Eur Respir J. 2016; 48:115–124. PMID: 26965294.
25. Spindel ER, McEvoy CT. The role of nicotine in the effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy on lung development and childhood respiratory disease. implications for dangers of E-cigarettes. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2016; 193:486–494. PMID: 26756937.
26. Chen VC, Kuo CJ, Wang TN, Lee WC, Chen WJ, Ferri CP, et al. Suicide and other-cause mortality after early exposure to smoking and second hand smoking: a 12-year populationbased follow-up study. PLoS One. 2015; 10:e0130044. PMID: 26222448.
27. Allen K, Kypridemos C, Hyseni L, Gilmore AB, Diggle P, Whitehead M, et al. The effects of maximising the UK's tobacco control score on inequalities in smoking prevalence and premature coronary heart disease mortality: a modelling study. BMC Public Health. 2016; 16:292. PMID: 27036296.
28. Stallings-Smith S, Zeka A, Goodman P, Kabir Z, Clancy L. Reductions in cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory mortality following the national irish smoking ban: interrupted time-series analysis. PLoS One. 2013; 8:e62063. PMID: 23637964.
29. Sebrie EM, Sandoya E, Bianco E, Hyland A, Cummings KM, Glantz SA. Hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction before and after implementation of a comprehensive smoke-free policy in Uruguay: experience through 2010. Tob Control. 2014; 23:471–472. PMID: 25324157.
30. Kim Y, Park S, Kim NS, Lee BK. Inappropriate survey design analysis of the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey may produce biased results. J Prev Med Public Health. 2013; 46:96–104. PMID: 23573374.
31. Tottenborg SS, Thomsen RW, Johnsen SP, Nielsen H, Lange P. Determinants of smoking cessation in patients with COPD treated in the outpatient setting. Chest. 2016; 150:554–562. PMID: 27262226.
32. Pulakka A, Halonen JI, Kawachi I, Pentti J, Stenholm S, Jokela M, et al. Association between distance from home to tobacco outlet and smoking cessation and relapse. JAMA Intern Med. 2016; 176:1512–1519. PMID: 27533777.
Full Text Links
  • TRD
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2024 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: