World No Tobacco Day, Korea aims to combat tobacco consumption

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : June 6, 2012, 15:34 | Updated : June 6, 2012, 15:34
According to the OECD Health Data published in 2011, 25.6 percent of the entire population aged over 15 in Korea smoke. Though the figure has declined 16.6 percent from 1999 to 2009, it is still higher than the OECD average of 22.3 percent.

48.3 percent of males over 19 smoke according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, whereas only 6.3 percent of females are habitual smokers.

May 31 is designated World No Tobacco Day as a health awareness day by WHO. It is marked every year to promote around the clock boycotting of tobacco products.

At a conference to celebrate the 25th World No Tobacco Day, Thursday, Korea will make it a priority to combat tobacco consumption according to ministry officials.

Korea will work towards to cut the male smoking rate to 20 percent through adopting stronger warning graphics on packaging and indicating the ingredients of tobacco products, said Im Chae-min, minister of health and welfare at the Korea Press Center in Seoul.

Im emphasized Korea’s efforts to tackle tobacco consumption through expanding no-smoking areas and support provided by clinics.

The health ministry will arrange various campaigns in Seoul from June 1 to 6 that people can receive free tests for nicotine dependency, as well as measure their bloodcarbon monoxide level and blood pressure at Gwanghwamun Plaza.

In Korea, more than 30 percent of cancer patients in Korea die in early stages due to the detrimental effects of smoking. “Cigarettes contain at least 60 types of carcinogens including 20 high-risk substances,” said Lee Jin-hwa, professor of pulmonology at Ewha Womans University’s Mokdong Hospital.

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