This is how the market looks in


South Korea

Percentage adult smokers
It is reported that between 44% and 57% of South Korean men smoke – one of the highest rates in the world. However, far fewer South Korean women reportedly smoke, and the total number of regular smokers in the country is estimated to be just under 25% (
ref 1) (ref 2).


LHP status (legality, availability etc)

E-cigarettes are legal in South Korea, and are classified as tobacco products under Korean law (ref). They are taxed at the same rate as cigarettes (ref). For more information on e-cigarette laws and regulations in South Korea and elsewhere, this site provides some insight, although cannot vouch for accuracy or currency.


Currently, taxes account for 62% of the retail price of a pack of cigarettes However, the government is considering adding an additional 80% in taxes which would bring the percentage consumers pay in tax to 73.7%. To compare tax rates on a country by country basis, this WHO site, although somewhat out of date, provides some insight.

Price of a pack

Currently, the average price of a pack of 20 cigarettes in South Korea is 2,500 won. If the proposed tax increase is applied, the cost will rise to an estimated 4,500 won

Illicit trade

We are not aware of any reliable studies on illicit trade in tobacco products in Korea. However, recent studies by Oxford Economics have found that some South Korean manufactured cigarette brands are commonly smuggled into and sold illicitly in numerous countries around the world.

Packaging and labelling requirements

Text warnings cover less than 30% of a cigarette pack at the moment. Graphic health warnings are not currently required in South Korea. However, the government is debating the introduction in 2016 of warning photos and phrases on more than 50% of cigarette packs, with graphic images covering at least 30% of the packaging. South Korea is not currently debating plain packaging.