Cigarette sales fall 0.2 percent in first quarter

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Cigarette sales fall 0.2 percent in first quarter

Cigarette sales in Korea declined 0.2 percent in the first three months this year from a year ago amid a government-led anti-smoking campaign and higher prices, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said Friday.

Smokers purchased 782.7 million 20-cigarette packs during the first three months this year, down from 783.9 million a year ago and down 17 percent from the first quarter of 2014, the ministry said.

Korea increased the price of cigarettes by 80 percent from 2,500 won ($2.15) a pack to 4,500 won in January 2015 in a bid to lower the number of smokers. Graphic warnings on cigarette packs became mandatory in 2016.

By Ko Jun-tae

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