Consequences of rising cigarette prices: roll-your-own tobacco, electronic cigarettes and booming loosies

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Smokers are increasingly buying roll-your-own tobacco as the price of a packet of cigarettes rose to 4,500 won ($ 4) from 2,500 won as of January 1. (image: Kobizmedia)

SEOUL, January 5 (Korea Bizwire) – The smoking culture in Korea is changing dramatically due to recent increases in the price of cigarettes by the Korean government. Sales of roll-your-own tobacco, which costs half the price of cigarettes, are increasing.

So-called “loosies,” single-unit cigarettes that were popular in small stores in the 1980s and 1990s, are also making a comeback. More and more smokers are coming to smoke-free clinics with a new resolve to quit after the prices rise.

Smokers are increasingly buying roll-your-own tobacco as the price of a packet of cigarettes rose to 4,500 won (US $ 4) on January 1. won (US $ 5.40-7.20).

VSCompared to the price of 200 won ($ 0.18) for a single cigarette in a pack, roll-your-own tobacco is more than 50 percent cheaper, although additional costs must be incurred for the purchase of cigarette papers. cigarettes and filters.

A vendor operating a tobacco shop in Yeoksam, Seoul, said the number of customers has increased two to three since the start of the year, and most customers are looking for roll-your-own tobacco as an alternative to packets of tobacco. expensive cigarettes. Industry experts have also said that roll-your-own tobacco, which once resided in the shadow of cigarette packs, is now the top priority for smokers.

So-called “loosies,” single-unit cigarettes that were popular in small stores in the 1980s and 1990s, are also making a comeback.  (photo: Yonhap)

So-called “loosies,” the single-unit cigarettes that were popular in small stores in the 1980s and 1990s, are also making a comeback. (photo: Yonhap)

Loosies are usually bought in low income areas. A single cigarette typically sells for 300 won ($ 0.27), which is more expensive than a single cigarette per pack. However, loosie sellers say that smokers, in their effort to quit, come to buy the singles as a little cheat. Loosies are not found in convenience stores, but in kiosks, convenience stores and small markets.

Sales of electronic cigarettes are also on the rise. According to Gmarket, the Korean online retailer, e-cigarette sales from January 1 to 22 were 17 times higher than in the same period in 2014.

Smoking clinics are also booming, as many smokers are determined to quit due to the rising prices. A smoke-free clinic in Nowon-gu, Seoul, which has an average number of visitors of around 150 per month, now welcomes more than 100 visitors per day.

Since the Korean government’s announcement of the increase in the price of cigarettes, the number of smokers who have visited anti-smoking clinics at community health centers has reached 127,000 nationwide. This figure is 46% higher than the same period in 2014. Anti-smoking clinics in hospitals are also growing in popularity.

By JW Choi ([email protected])



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