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Korea's 2015 cigarette tax increases
  1. Rajeev Cherukupalli
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rajeev Cherukupalli, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; rcheruku{at}


South Korea increased tobacco taxes in 2015 after a 10-year gap. This commentary suggests two lessons for public finance practitioners. Substantive tax increases are crucial to reducing tobacco use; particularly where prices are demonstrably lower and prevalence higher in comparison to other countries ranked similarly on economic development indicators. Second, as a rule of thumb, governments cannot afford to neglect the annual increases that ensure that tobacco taxes do not lose their efficacy over time.

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