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  • P-ISSN 1738-656X

한국개발연구. Vol. 31, No. 2, December 2009, pp. 127-153

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The Impacts of Smoking Bans on Smoking in Korea

Beom soo Kim; Ah ram Kim

Author & Article History

Manuscript .


There is a growing concern about potential harmful effect of second-hand or environmental tobacco smoking. As a result, smoking bans in workplace become more prevalent worldwide. In Korea, workplace smoking ban policy become more restrictive in 2003 when National health enhancing law was amended. The new law requires all office buildings larger than 3,000 square meters (multi-purpose buildings larger than 2,000 square meters) should be smoke free. Therefore, a lot of indoor office became non smoking area. Previous studies in other counties often found contradicting answers for the effects of workplace smoking ban on smoking behavior. In addition, there was no study in Korea yet that examines the causal impacts of smoking ban on smoking behavior. The situation in Korea might be different from other countries. Using 2001 and 2005 Korea National Health and Nutrition surveys which are representative for population in Korea we try to examine the impacts of law change on current smoker and cigarettes smoked per day. The amended law impacted the whole country at the same time and there was a declining trend in smoking rate even before the legislation update. So, the challenge here is to tease out the true impact only. We compare indoor working occupations which are constrained by the law change with outdoor working occupations which are less impacted. Since the data has been collected before (2001) and after (2005) the law change for treated (indoor working occupations) and control (outdoor working occupations) groups we will use difference in difference method. We restrict our sample to working age (between 20 and 65) since these are the relevant population by the workplace smoking ban policy. We also restrict the sample to indoor occupations (executive or administrative and administrative support) and outdoor occupations (sales and low skilled worker) after dropping unemployed and someone working for military since it is not clear whether these occupations are treated group or control group. This classification was supported when we examined the answers for workplace smoking ban policy existing only in 2005 survey. Sixty eight percent of indoor occupations reported having an office smoking ban policy compared to forty percent of outdoor occupation answering workplace smoking ban policy. The estimated impacts on current smoker are 4.1 percentage point decline and cigarettes per day show statistically significant decline of 2.5 cigarettes per day. Taking into account consumption of average sixteen cigarettes per day among smokers it is sixteen percent decline in smoking rate which is substantial. We tested robustness using the same sample across two surveys and also using tobit model. Our results are robust against both concerns. It is possible that our measure of treated and control group have measurement error which will lead to attenuation bias. However, we are finding statistically significant impacts which might be a lower bound of the true estimates. The magnitude of our finding is not much different from previous finding of significant impacts. For cigarettes per day previous estimates varied from 1.37 to 3.9 and for current smoker it showed between 1%p and 7.8%p.


금연법(Smoking Ban), 흡연자(Current Smoker), 흡연일수(Cigarettes Per Day)

JEL Code

J21, I18

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