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Public Health. 2009 Oct;123(10):657-64. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2009.09.007. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

Secular trends in adult male smoking from 1992 to 2006 in South Korea: age-specific changes with evolving tobacco-control policies.

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School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Yeongun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 110-460, Republic of Korea.



For years, South Korea has had one of the highest levels of tobacco use among males in the world, but a steady decline has been observed recently. This study examined how the smoking behaviour of male adults changed with age after the implementation of national tobacco control policies in 1995.


Repeated cross-sectional study using a national survey.


Data were obtained from the 1992, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2006 results of a repeated cross-sectional survey, the Social Statistics Survey. The smoking status of adult men was compared before (1992 and 1995 surveys) and after (1999, 2003 and 2006 surveys) the implementation of government-directed tobacco control policies using graphical methods and logistic regression analysis.


After the implementation of tobacco control policies, the percentage of current male smokers decreased while the percentage of former smokers increased markedly. Smoking prevalence among older men (aged 50 years or more) reduced initially, and this decline was more pronounced after the tobacco control policies were implemented. Smoking prevalence in younger men (aged 30-49 years) declined in 2003 when more comprehensive tobacco control policies were implemented.


This study suggests that comprehensive tobacco control policies in South Korea reduced smoking prevalence among males, initially among older men and later among both older men and younger men.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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