22% of the adult population are smokers

There are approximately 9.8 million smokers in South Korea

Quick links do detailed datasheets for South Korea:
Country profile

Smoking in South Korea

Current smoking trends for the overall adult population in South Korea show a decrease from 2000 (35%) to 2015 (23%), with a projection to decrease further to 18% by 2025. For women there has been a downwards year by year trend in smoking prevalence, from 7% in 2000 to 6% in 2015, and is projected to be around 5.5% by 2025. For men the trend has also been downwards, but starting with a much higher prevalence of 64% being current smokers in 2000, 41% in 2015 and a projection to decrease further to around 31% by 2025. The WHO published prevalence trend estimates in tobacco smoking, as shown here, in their 2018 2nd edition report, which show slightly different smoking prevalence to the WHO country profiles. Data for the estimates were obtained from WHO databases. The trend lines are projections, not predictions, of future attainment. A projection indicates a likely endpoint if the country maintains its tobacco control efforts at the same level that it has implemented them to date. Therefore the impact of recent interventions could alter the expected endpoint shown in the projection. While the methods of estimation used in the first and second editions of the WHO report are the same, the volume of data available for the second edition is larger i.e. 200 more national surveys. The results presented are therefore more robust.



46.8 thousand people die from tobacco smoking in South Korea.

9.2 million €

Market size of NRT.

NRT market size is 9.2 million €.

Heated Tobacco Products

in South Korea

Heated tobacco products are very popular in South Korea. The South Korean Government has taken a decision to increase heated tobacco product taxes to 89% of those levied on cigarettes.

Nicotine Vaping Devices

in South Korea

In South Korea, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are classified as tobacco products, and their sale is prohibited to minors under 19 years. Packaging and advertisements have to include health warnings saying they contain any listed harmful substances Nicotine-containing-e-cigarette adverts can only be featured a maximum of 10 times per magazine per year. Vaping is banned in public places and on public transport, but is allowed in designated smoking areas. E-cigarettes have a number of taxes and charges applied to them (national health promotion, tobacco consumption, local education, and individual consumption taxes) proportional to 1,799 won per ml (approx. $1.53 USD) of nicotine liquid. There is also a waste charge of 24 won/20 cartridges (approx. $0.02 USD) and a 10% Value Added Tax (VAT).


in South Korea

Snus is legal to use.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

in South Korea

NRT is available in Pharmacy. NRT is legal to market.