Possibility of Increasing Cigarette Tax in South Korea

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Possibility of Increasing Cigarette Tax in South Korea
South Korea considers raising cigarette taxes as prices have remained stagnant for 9 years, prompting widespread discussions.

According to recent reports from South Korean media, cigarette prices in the country have remained stagnant at 4,500 Korean won (approximately 27 Chinese yuan) for nine consecutive years, sparking widespread discussions on increasing tobacco taxes.


Despite Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, Zhao Sang-hun, stating at a personnel hearing recently that "there are no plans to increase it," it appears that the current cigarette prices are actually trending downward when compared to the soaring inflation. Therefore, it seems that an increase in tobacco tax is only a matter of time.


In addition, due to the rising costs, the profits of the cigarette industry are also shrinking, hence the possibility of increasing tobacco taxes is quite high. In this regard, the academic community has proposed a plan to gradually increase tobacco taxes each year, aiming to raise cigarette prices to a range of 10,000 to 20,000 Korean won per pack by 2030.


In the debate on the increase in tobacco taxes, some arguments suggest that a price of 10,000 Korean won is too high, and 8,000 Korean won is an acceptable level, which also aligns with the average cigarette prices in OECD countries.


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