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South Korea: ‘KT&G Sangsang Univ.’ employs education for marketing
  1. Sungkyu Lee,
  2. Stanton A Glantz
  1. Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education and Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Stanton A Glantz, University of California, San Francisco, Department of Medicine and Cardiovascular Research Institute, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, 530 Parnassus Avenue, Suite 366, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390, USA; glantz{at}

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Ever since Korea opened its market to the transnational tobacco companies in 1988, KT&G (Korea Tomorrow & Global), the now-privatised state tobacco monopoly, has steadily lost market share. Using aggressive and creative marketing tactics, the transnational tobacco companies have increased their market share in Korea from 2.9% in 1988 to 41.7% in 2009.1 Korea restricts cigarette advertising and marketing, prohibiting outdoor signage, free sampling outdoors, and advertisements on TV and radio and in newspapers, while allowing cigarette promotions in cigarette retail shops and magazines (except magazines directed at women or youth) and sponsorship of social, cultural, musical, athletic and other specific events (except events directed at women or youth).2

In 2003, KT&G created ‘KT&G Sangsang Univ.’ (KT&G 상상 Univ.). The word ‘Sangsang’ (상상) means ‘imagination’. Although it is called a ‘Univ.’, KT&G Sangsang Univ. is not a university; it appears to be a part of KT&G. There is no official information available from KT&G and KT&G Sangsang Univ. about the formal business relationship between the two bodies. We telephoned KT&G Sangsang Univ. to …

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  • Funding This research was supported by a gift from the Hellmann Family Fund and National Cancer Institute grant CA-87472. The funders played no role in the selection of the research question, the conduct of the research or the preparation of this manuscript.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.