search for



Cross mark




View (395) Download (567) CrossRef (0)
Changes in Smoking Behavior and Related Factors after an Increase in Tobacco Prices: Findings from the Korean Welfare Panel Study
J Korean Soc Res Nicotine Tob 2022; 13(2): 43-52
Published online June 30, 2022
© 2022 The Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Minjae Choi1, Jinyoung Kim2*

1Graduate School of Public Health, Ajou University, Suwon, 2Korea Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence to: 源吏꾩쁺
Received May 9, 2022; Revised June 27, 2022; Accepted June 27, 2022.
This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, dis-tribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: In 2015, the Korean government raised tobacco tax, which resulted in increased tobacco prices by 80%. This study examined the trends of smoking behavior, quantity of smoking, and changes in smoking behavior and its associated factor after the tobacco price increase.
Methods: We used data from the Korean Welfare Panel Study for 2014-2018. To investigate trends in smoking behavior and quantity, we assessed the proportion of quitters and the smoking quantity of persistent smokers after the tobacco price increase. Using multinomial logistic regression analysis, the study identified the association between socio-demographic and health-related factors and changes in smoking behavior from 2015 to 2016.
Results: Out of 2,012 smokers as of 2014, 19.7% of smokers quit after the implementation of increased tobacco prices in 2015; however, this rate gradually decreased from 19.7% in 2015 to 8.6% in 2018. Similarly, smoking quantity significantly decreased from 15.53 sticks to 14.85 sticks in 2015 but increased to 15.95 sticks in 2018. The probability of quitting was higher among women or the elderly. Compared with the middle-income group, the low- and high-income groups were more likely to quit smoking after the increase in tobacco prices.
Conclusion: The increase in tobacco tax, which was implemented in 2015, temporarily led to smoking cessation and reduction of tobacco consumption. A higher probability of quitting was observed among persons with low-income status, which suggests that considering price and nonprice policies is necessary to increase long-term smoking cessation.
Keywords : Tobacco price; Smoking cessation; Tobacco control
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
  2. Tobacco - Fact sheets [Internet]. Geneva: World Health Organization (CH); 2022. May 22 [cited 2022. May 24].
  3. Cho SI. Study on attributable mortality and socioeconomic burden of smoking and second-hand smoking in South Korea. Osong: Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency; 2021.
  4. Kang E, Lee JA, Cho HJ. Characteristics of hardcore smokers in South Korea from 2007 to 2013. BMC Public Health. 2017; 17(1): 1-7.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  5. OECD. Health at a glance 2021: OECD indicators. OECD Publishing, Paris; 2021.
  6. Levy DT, Li Y, Yuan Z. Impact of nations meeting the MPOWER targets between 2014 and 2016: an update. Tobacco Control. 2020; 29(2): 231-3.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  7. Chaloupka FJ, Straif K, Leon ME. Effectiveness of tax and price policies in tobacco control. Tobacco Control. 2011; 20(3): 235-8.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  8. Ranson MK, Jha P, Chaloupka FJ, Nguyen SN. Global and regional estimates of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of price increases and other tobacco control policies. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 2002; 4(3): 311-9.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  9. Li J, Newcombe R, Guiney H, Walton D. Impact on smoking behavior of the New Zealand annual increase in tobacco tax: data for the fifth and sixth year of increases. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 2017; 19(12): 1491-8.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  10. Dunlop SM, Cotter TF, Perez DA. Impact of the 2010 tobacco Tax increase in Australia on short릘erm smoking cessation: a continuous tracking survey. Medical Journal of Australia. 2011; 195(8): 469-72.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  11. L처pez-Nicol찼s 횁, Cobacho MB, Fern찼ndez E. The Spanish tobacco tax loopholes and their consequences. Tobacco Control. 2013; 22(e1): e21-e4.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  12. MacLean JC, Kessler AS, Kenkel DS. Cigarette taxes and older adult smoking: evidence from the health and retirement study. Health economics. 2016; 25(4): 424-38.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  13. Brown T, Platt S, Amos A. Equity impact of European individual-level smoking cessation interventions to reduce smoking in adults: a systematic review. The European Journal of Public Health. 2014; 24(4): 551-6.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  14. Hill S, Amos A, Clifford D, Platt S. Impact of tobacco control interventions on socioeconomic inequalities in smoking: review of the evidence. Tobacco Control. 2014; 23(e2): e89-e97.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  15. Yh J, Ko S, editors. Composite indicator for tobacco control policy in Korea. Health-Welf Policy Forum; 2014.
  16. Lim MK, Cho HJ. Current status of tobacco control policies in Korea compared with international treaty and its implementation. Journal of the Korean Medical Association. 2018; 61(3): 148-56.
  17. Han MA. The price of tobacco and its effects on smoking behaviors in Korea: The 2015 Korea Community Health Survey. Preventive Medicine. 2019; 120: 71-7.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  18. Kim EG, Park SK, Lee YM, Hyun MY, Narapareddy L. Factors associated with maintenance of smoking cessation in adolescents after implementation of tobacco pricing policy in South Korea: Evidence from the 11th Youth Health Behavior Survey. Research in Nursing & Health. 2020; 43(1): 40-7.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  19. Kim I, Khang YH. Differential changes in quitting smoking by daily cigarette consumption and intention to quit after the introduction of a tobacco tax increase and pictorial cigarette pack warnings in Korea, 2013-2017. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2020; 213: 108085.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  20. Kim S, Cho SI. Smoking-related behaviour changes among Korean men after the 2015 tobacco price increase: assessing the implications for the tobacco endgame using a reconstructed retrospective cohort study. BMJ open. 2022; 12(1): e051712.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  21. Lee B, Seo DC. Effects of an 80% cigarette price increase on quit attempts, successful quitting and smoking intensity among Korean adult smokers: results from nationally representative longitudinal panel data. Tobacco Control. 2021; 30(3): 336-43.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  22. Hirono KT, Smith KE. Australia’s $40 per pack cigarette tax plans: the need to consider equity. Tobacco Control. 2018; 27(2): 229-33.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  23. Bader P, Boisclair D, Ferrence R. Effects of tobacco taxation and pricing on smoking behavior in high risk populations: a knowledge synthesis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(11): 4118-39.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  24. Farrelly MC, Bray JW, Pechacek T, Woollery T. Response by adults to increases in cigarette prices by sociodemographic characteristics. Southern Economic Journal. 2001; 68(1): 156-65.
  25. Townsend J. Price and consumption of tobacco. British Medical Bulletin. 1996; 52(1): 132-42.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  26. Kahler CW, Spillane NS, Metrik J. Alcohol use and initial smoking lapses among heavy drinkers in smoking cessation treatment. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 2010; 12(7): 781-5.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  27. Smith PH, Mazure CM, McKee SA. Smoking and mental illness in the US population. Tobacco Control. 2014; 23(e2): e147-e53.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  28. Grant BF, Dawson DA, Stinson FS, Chou PS, Kay W, Pickering R. The Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-IV (AUDADIS-IV): reliability of alcohol consumption, tobacco use, family history of depression and psychiatric diagnostic modules in a general population sample. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2003; 71(1): 7-16.
  29. Batel P, Pessione F, Maitre C, Rueff B. Relationship between alcohol and tobacco dependencies among alcoholics who smoke. Addiction. 1995; 90(7): 977-80.
    Pubmed CrossRef