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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

500 W tobacco price hike

The government is planning to raise the cigarette price 500 won (a pack?) next summer, and the tax excemption thus far given for cigarettes sold to soldiers will be taken away (from Chosun Ilbo).

Dept chief Mun Ch'ang-sik from the Ministry of Health and Welfare describes the armed forces as the practice ground for smoking; at the moment a pack of This (isn't that from which 디스 comes?) has been sold for 250 won for soldiers, but in the future the price would be 2000W like for the rest of the population.

One can argue that here's the government once again making the life more difficult for the sômin (seomin) and taking away one of the last joys they can enjoy, but in the case of cigarettes, the "ordinary people" won't get my sympathy... Sure this makes also the life harder for smokers in military service, with the rather lousy pay (to put it sarcastically) the recruits get.

Let's see, if the monthly "pay" of a conscript has been 35800 won in 2004, or 1200W a day, one can get four packs of cigarettes with the tax-free army prices. I understand that the remuneration has been raised to 60100W/month (2000W/day) this year, so with the raised cig prices it'd make one pack a day.

What about here then? A conscript in Finland gets 3.60€/day up to 180 days of service (the most common length of service), between 180 and 270 days 5.75€, from 270 to 360 days 8.25€. I have no idea of the exact price of a pack of cigarettes here, but the daily pay during the shortest service is good perhaps for a 3/4 of a pack, so if and when the Korean soldiers will have to buy their cigarettes with tax, the price of tarring and nicotining one's lungs is almost equal for Finnish and Korean conscripts.

Concerning this cigarette price hike, we have not yet heard any statement from the Writers' Association condemning the goverment plan like last year.

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