Sales of cigarettes in South Korea gained 1.9 percent on-year in the first half of the year due to weak demand for duty-free cigarettes amid the coronavirus pandemic and increased sales of heated tobacco products, the Finance Ministry said.
South Korean smokers purchased 1.78 billion 20-cigarette packs in the January-June period, compared with 1.75 billion packs a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The rise came as COVID-19 restrictions, which decreased access to duty-free cigarettes, were lifted, and more heated tobacco products were sold, the ministry said.
Sales of traditional cigarettes dropped 1 percent on-year to 1.52 billion packs in the first half, but those of heated tobacco products soared 22.5 percent to 260 million packs. (Yonhap)