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Friday, February 09, 2007

Finns smoke as much as Koreans

Even though it might be easy to get the impression that Koreans smoke much more than Finns, a closer look at available stats shows that both smoke approximately as much, but in Finland, as may be expected, the gender equality is much better in this regard: women have the right not to face social pressure when smoking in public any more than men. In 2005, 22% of Finns smoked - 26 percent of men and 18 percent of women. In Korea, counting the approximate average between the 44% smoking rate of adult men and 2.3% of women, the Korean figure is perhaps one point higher than that of Finland. In Korea, a huge drop in smoking has taken place after tobacco prises were hiked in 2004, when 58% of men smoked - so huge that it's difficult to believe (but a welcome drop anyway, if true).

In Finland, men's smoking rate has diminished from 36% in 1979 to 26% in 2005, but women have bravely maintained their figure in 17-20%. Among people between 15 and 24 years of age, we've achieved gender equality: 20% of both men and women smoke in 2005. Not that I'd advocate such gender equality in Korea in which women start smoking as much as men: I'd rather have men smoke as little as women - rather than over third of women smoking in public, I'd have 2-3% of men smoking in toilets because of social pressures. (Sure, that'll present other problems and inconveniences...) I'm not sure if smoking has started to be associated with lower income strata with less education, which definitely has taken place over here (even though in our anthro dept that's not the case - but very few of us would belong to any high-income strata anyway...) Considering this report by Hankyoreh in a series of health inequality, however, according to which smoking among the highly educated and clerical workers has decreased more than among the low-educated strata, it is conceivable that it is on its way becoming a status and class marker - and not a marker of proper manhood, for example.

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Comments to note "Finns smoke as much as Koreans" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 9.2.07 : 

that's fascinating. it's funny how that works out. i bet there's significant under-reporting of women smokers in Korea, though. they just have to smoke in secret.

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