Graphic warnings on cigarette packs will be larger, and bright colors and fancy logos will be eliminated from them, the health ministry announced, Tuesday.
In addition, indoor smoking at all public facilities will be banned by 2025 and smoking prevention programs will be implemented from an early age.
|The smoking rate for Korean men in 2017 was 38.1 percent. / gettyimagesbank|
According to the ministry, the new measures stipulate that pictorial health warnings must cover 75 percent of tobacco packs, up from the current 50 percent.
In 2016, the government made it mandatory for all tobacco companies to put graphic warnings on both sides of a packet in a move to reduce the smoking rate.
In addition, all tobacco products will be required to be sold in plain standardized packaging, which prevents manufacturers from using brand colors, logos and imagery on the pack and permits them to print only the brand name in a mandated size, font and place. This measure is recommended by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and eight countries ― Australia, Britain, France, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand, Hungary and Slovenia ― have already put the measure into force.
As part of efforts to curb smoking by young people, the ministry will ban tobacco producers from using cartoon characters in their ads, while mandating anti-smoking ads in the introduction of dramas and movies containing smoking scenes.
The ministry is also set to prohibit smoking inside public facilities.
Currently, people cannot smoke inside public buildings with a gross floor area of 1,000 square meters or above, and the criterion will be lowered to 500 square meters by 2021 before a complete smoking ban takes effect in 2025.
In order to prevent secondhand smoke, mainly coming from those smoking while walking, the ministry will designate outdoor smoking areas that are separated from pedestrians.
Preventive measures to reduce smoking by young people were also unveiled.
Anti-smoking education will be provided at daycare centers, kindergartens and schools. To this end, practical programs and educational materials will be developed and distributed, while a program helping schools manage smoking students will be devised.
In addition, regular anti-smoking clinics will be offered for soldiers and college students. Those who face fines for smoking in anti-smoking areas will have their financial punishment cut if they participate in anti-tobacco treatments and programs.
The smoking rate for Korean men in 2017 was 38.1 percent, the fourth-highest among the OECD member nations, following Turkey, Latvia and Greece.
In addition, last year's youth smoking rate stood at 6.7 percent.