A new study suggests smoking rate in Korea has plummeted alongside the rapid growth of vaping
Despite the fact smoking kills more people every year than almost anything else, most individuals find it exceedingly difficult to kick their smoking habit once and for all. Even with all the graphic and crystal clear evidence we have, millions of people still choose to light up cigarettes every day. As such, it’s extremely important we can develop and maximize different smoking cessation tools to help end this epidemic. E-cigarettes are one of the newest, but most effective of any of these tools, giving many people hope smoking will one day be a thing of the past. A report coming out of Korea shows this is exactly what’s happening there, as the smoking rate has dropped over 20% since just 2014; right when vaping exploded in popularity.
Korea has traditionally been very hands-off in the fight against smoking, but in recent years decided to get more involved. In 2014 they passed a massive smoking cessation bill which many feel has directly led to increased vaping and less smoking. This is especially true with all the technological developments over the last several years. It’s never been easier for any smoker to find precisely the right setup to satisfy their needs.
Falling Smoking Rate
An article published on popular Korean business website, The Investor, first broke the news cigarette sales had fallen once again, to the tune of 2% since the start of 2018. The report mentioned several of the government’s policies aimed at curbing smoking, such as graphic images on packs of cigarettes, and increased taxes. In fact, the price of a pack of cigarettes nearly doubled since 2014, when it would have cost around 2,500 won, with it now costing a whopping 4,500 won per pack. These types of policies are nothing new for the vaping industry, but regardless, the evidence proves something has been massively successful.
Looking at the numbers closer, you see a drop in cigarette sales, while vaping sales increased. In fact, only 3.14 billion packs of cigarettes were sold in Korea last year, representing a 9% drop. Vaping sales, on the other hand, grew 79 million units to reach over 330 million sold for the first time. Hammering home this improvement is the proportion of sales which involved vaporizers. Only 2.2% of tobacco market sales involved vaping in 2017, while 9.6% of the market was vaporizers in just one year. This makes it clear vaping is stepping in and making it much easier for Koreans to quit their smoking habit once and for all.
Case For Vaporizers
The figures coming out of Korea shouldn’t be too much of a surprise if you’ve looked at the peer-reviewed evidence we have. We know vaping is one of, if not the best, smoking cessation tools at our disposal thanks to a report conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville. They tested all the most common quit methods and devices, ranging from cold turkey through prescription drugs and concluded vaping is more likely to succeed than anything else. Another vital issue often brought up regarding vaping is the impact acceptance of e-cigarettes will have on teens. Well, a report of over 60,000 students concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer regularly, meaning a lot less are even ever trying a cigarette.
Taking a look at the harm reduction value of vaping and things become even more evident. Back in 2015, we got our first reputable report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. At the time this number made huge headlines, but these days it’s just the norm. In fact, as recently as a few months ago a report found e-cigarette vapor contains around 93% fewer toxicants than smoke. Even more impressively is the report published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is around 57,000 times higher than a demographically similar vaper.
With 2019 being such a make or break year for the vaping industry, it’s great to see such an influential country like Korea get on board with vaping. We have years of evidence now which strongly indicates vaping is an invaluable tool in the fight against tobacco. Unfortunately, most people still seem unaware of what vaping has to offer, with only around 13% of adults understanding vaping is much safer than smoking. The more smokers who realize what’s at stake, the easier it will be to gain acceptance as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. Improving poor public perception is the best way we can secure and protect our vaping rights into the future, and with smoking still killing more people every year than anything else, it’s as essential as ever.
Do you think a rapid change like seen in Korea is viable everywhere? What did you find was the most important thing to remember when trying to quit smoking? What’s the most significant cause of the poor public perception of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.