The Korea Times reported today that the government will ban smoking in all public places. The Ministry for Health, Wefare and Family Affairs said that it is looking to lower the percentage of smokers in Korea, which is currently at a whopping 47%. They will also campaign against smoking by placing warnings on cigarette cases and offering incentives to companies that encourage their employees to quit smoking.
Korean men often smoke, a habit usually picked up during their two year mandatory military service. Korean women are much more covert about the habit, as many are scorned by the older generation who see it as a masculine habit. But women’s restrooms in Korea perpetually smell like smoke.
These days you can light up at your dinner table in a restaurant, in a bar, on the steetcorner, in the PC Bang and almost anywhere else. Many people do. Hopefully, starting in 2011 when the ban is in place, this bad habit will be curtailed in Korea.