Conflict,Caused by the Raise of Cigarette Prices
Conflict,Caused by the Raise of Cigarette Prices
  • Jo Hyeon-jeong
  • 승인 2015.04.08 15:00
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Since last year, the price of cigarettes, which is the center of controversy, started to increase from January 1, 2015. Not only smokers, but also nonsmokers have many opinions about this issue. Listen to their opinions to get an idea of what happens to our society.

Korean cigarette price
In 2004, the price of Korean cigarette rose from 2,000 won to 2,500 won. For over ten years, the price did not change. This year, the price rose from 2,500 won to 4,500 won. From the government’s view, the increased price helps to create tax revenue, aids in improving the overall health outlook for the Korean, and follows inflation.

Reasons for the increasing price of cigarette
For national health- The increased price hopes to be effective in reducing the smoking rate.

Consider inflation- Korea ranked as the lowest in OECD cigarette price. In dollars, the average of a cigarette price in many countries has been ten dollars, while the average of Korean cigarette price has been just over two dollars.
To add the welfare’s tax- If the cigarette price increases, the government can annually collect tax up to 3 trillion and 50 million won. If this situation continues for five years, they can collect one-third of the welfare tax.
Reduce smoking- Korean smoking males are recognized as the highest rank in OECD. Korea plans to reduce the rank by 2020.
To protect teenagers from smoking- In 2004, cigarette prices rose from 2,000 won to 2,500 won. It made a big difference. The number of smoking teenagers was reduced by15.2%, and 31.1% teenagers quit smoking altogether. Teenagers are more sensitive than adults to the increased price, which has been evaluated effectively to protect themselves from smoking.

The conditions caused by the increased price of cigarette
Electronic-cigarettes and its stores have increased and TV home-shoppings have started to sell E-cigarettes. According to the records of the Office of Customs Administration, the sales of E-cigarettes increased by seven times from September to November in 2013 and 2014.
Increasing non-smoking areas and charging fines - Since January 1, 2015, all restaurants removed smoking areas to help non-smoking movement. However, they can maintain those areas under some conditions, such as nonsmokers should not be affected by the streams of smoke. If some restaurants do not follow the conditions and maintain smoking area, then they will be fined. The fines are 1,700,000 won, 3,000,000 won and 5,000,000 won respectively. If smokers smoke in designated non-smoking areas, they will be fined 1,000,000 won if caught. 

Pros and Cons

Pros Kim Sun-gu Electronic Engineering

Q) Do you think the increasing price of cigarettes is reasonable?

A) At first, many people said the government makes the lives of low-income groups hard. But after two months, many people started to quit smoking, which is a positive change. Thus, the increased price accords with the enhancement of the nation’s health and the raise of tax revenues.

Q) What do you think about the government’s plan to increase the price of cigarette consistently?

A) The current price of the cigaretteas 4,500 won is reasonable. However, the price of Korea’s cigarette is still cheaper than the prices of other advanced countries. Therefore, in my opinion , I am in favor of
increasing the price to an optimum level, compared with the prices of other countries.

Cons Jang Min-suck English Language & Literature

Q) Do you think the increasing price of cigarettes is reasonable?

A) Soju and cigarettes are personal preferences. If the increased price is consistent, the effects will appear like the government insisted in a short-term, but it will be unreasonable for the lowincome groups economically in a long-term. Therefore, from my perspective, Korea should have a welfare institution system, which should be fundamental.

Q) What do you think about the government’s plan to increase the price of cigarette consistently?

A) I am opposed to the plan because the lives of low-income groups are difficult since it does affect them. In particular, it is not a win-win policy, but it is a lose-lose policy. In conclusion, the government’s plan will only be a burden to low-income groups.

In conclusion, the price of cigarette in Korea is still cheap based on OECD, compared to the prices in other countries. Based on the OECD data, Korean male smokers are ranked as the highest. Because of this, the price of cigarette in Korea has been raised from 2,500won to 4,500won. Increasing the price of cigarettes has become a critical issue, regardless of being a smoker or a nonsmoker. Lastly, I want the government’s desirable result in increasing price of cigarette to maintain for all citizens.

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