"10 billion packs decreased in sales, since the government raised the price. You can't really compare that to any other anti-smoking policy."
Ever since the government decided to hike up the prices of cigarettes, the habit has become somewhat of a burden to smokers' wallets.
According to a recent survey, one out of four smokers answered their smoking habits have been affected after the 2015 price hike on tobacco. About 13% have quit smoking, less than 10% are smoking less, and little over 2% have switched over to e-cigarettes due to the higher price.
"The price is almost the same as that of a meal. It makes you think again before you smoke."
"I think it's going to affect my.. I mean I'm from the States so if that were to happen there like in California that would absolutely affect my, for any vice that I have, that would affect my spending habits. Absolutely."
"Although the survey shows there are indeed fewer people who smoke tobacco cigarettes, there are concerns about the rising numbers of e-cigarette smokers. In fact, the rate of e-cigarette use among Korean men, soared to seven.one percent in 2015, from two percent in 2013 and four.four percent in 2014.
"It feels cheaper because all you need to do is change the liquid cartridges every now and then."
Imports of e-cigarettes have been on the rise as well. The Korea Customs Service said,
imported E-cigarttes totaled 13.5 million U.S. dollars in 2015, an increase from $2.3 million in 2013 and $10.1 million in 2014.
Some believe that e-cigarette is a healthier option, but is it?
"The vapor still contains carcinogens. And because there are far more companies that produce e-cigarettes, the toxins are all different by companies, which makes it harder to regulate."
Chewing gum, patches, and now e-cigarettes, the options you could choose to quit the habit are numerous. But with no alternative being free of other risks, seems like the best way is to go cold turkey, which in the long term is guaranteed to put less burden on one's wallet and health.
Hwang Hojun, Arirang News.