british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Youth smoking prevention in South Korea

Skip Data Fast Track Navigation

Data fast track

Sustainability Report 2010
South Korea

Youth smoking is a major issue in South Korea. In 2010, the adult population smoking rate was 42.6 per cent, having fallen from over 70 per cent in 1980. However, over the same period the youth smoking rate has increased. According to the research by the Korea Centre for Disease Control and Prevention the main causes for this trend are low cigarette prices, peer pressure, stress and lack of enforcement against retailers selling to the underage.

In the past, each of the four major tobacco companies in South Korea ran separate youth smoking prevention (YSP) campaigns. These were complemented by a campaign from the Korean Tobacco Association which has been in place since 2002.

In order to increase the industry’s effectiveness in tackling youth smoking, agreement was reached between the tobacco companies that one single campaign should be established, led by the industry association. This joint campaign helps to ensure consistency of messages and reduces duplication of effort across the tobacco companies.

The initial stage of the campaign raised awareness among retailers of the importance of preventing youth smoking. The focus was then on the role that age verification can play in preventing youth access to cigarettes.

This age verification stage ran from October to December 2010 and reached 70,000 retailers. The investment required from all four tobacco companies to reach this many retailers was significant: Trade Marketing & Distribution employees provided point of sale materials and face-to-face training. British American Tobacco Korea also asked the retailers to sign a pledge that they would not sell to the underage.

Buy-in from retailers is an essential element of any YSP campaign and this industry-wide approach has enabled British American Tobacco Korea to achieve this more effectively than in the past.