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Vision for tobacco endgame in Korea: suggestions for countries with endgame aspirations
  1. Heewon Kang1,
  2. Eunsil Cheon2,
  3. Hyun Kyung Kim2,
  4. Jung Mi Park2,
  5. Jieun Hwang3,
  6. Jinyoung Kim4,
  7. Sungkyu Lee4,
  8. Yuri Han5,
  9. Min Kyung Lim5,
  10. Susan Park1,
  11. Sung-il Cho1,2
  1. 1Seoul National University Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul, The Republic of Korea
  2. 2Department of Public Health Sciences, Seoul National University Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul, The Republic of Korea
  3. 3Department of Health Administration, Dankook University, Cheonan, The Republic of Korea
  4. 4Korea Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Seoul, The Republic of Korea
  5. 5Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Inha University College of Medicine, Incheon, The Republic of Korea
  1. Correspondence to Professor Sung-il Cho, Seoul National University Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul, 08826, The Republic of Korea; persontime{at}


Tobacco endgame is a focal point of discussion at both national and international levels. We aimed to describe efforts related to achieving the tobacco endgame in the Republic of Korea, an exemplar of a country with endgame aspirations, and compare them with the efforts of other nations. We reviewed the tobacco endgame efforts of three nations considered tobacco control leaders: New Zealand (NZ), Australia and Finland. The efforts/attempts of each country were described using an endgame strategy category. The tobacco control leaders had explicit goals to achieve a smoking prevalence of <5% before a target date and had legislation and research centres for tobacco control and/or endgame. NZ is implementing a mixture of conventional and innovative endgame interventions; the others use incremental conventional approaches. In Korea, there has been an attempt to ban the sale and manufacture of combustible cigarettes. The attempt led to the filing of a petition, and a survey of adults showed 70% supported the legislation banning tobacco. The Korean government mentioned a tobacco endgame in a 2019 plan, yet a target and an end date were absent. The 2019 plan in Korea included incremental FCTC strategies. Practices in the leading countries show that legislation and research are key to ending the tobacco epidemic. The MPOWER measures must be strengthened, endgame objectives must be set and bold strategies must be adopted. Key endgame policies include those with evidence of effectiveness, such as retailer reductions.

  • end game
  • public policy
  • surveillance and monitoring

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  • Contributors HK conducted the analyses and drafted the manuscript. S-iC advised on the data analyses. All authors designed the study, interpreted the findings, reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding This research was funded by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (grant number 2021-12-109).

  • Competing interests No, there are no competing interests.

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