Ratio of teenagers in South Korea who smoked at least once within a one-month period reaches 9.7% in 2013, down 1.7 percentage points from 2012, according to poll

SEOUL, South Korea , October 23, 2013 () – Fewer teenagers smoked cigarettes in 2013 from a year earlier while their consumption of junk food increased, a poll showed Thursday, raising concerns over their eating habits.

According to the poll conducted by the state-run Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ratio of teenagers who smoked at least once within a one-month period reached 9.7 percent this year, down 1.7 percentage points from 11.4 percent tallied a year earlier.

The survey co-hosted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Education was conducted between June and July this year on 72,000 South Korean students enrolled at local middle and high schools.

By gender, 14.4 percent of male students had smoked during the cited period, down 1.9 percentage points from a year earlier, and that of females also edged down 1.3 percentage points to 4.6 percent.

The accessibility rate of tobacco products came to 76.5 percent last year, meaning that between seven and eight students out of 10 had no trouble purchasing such goods. For alcoholic beverages, that ratio came to 76.8 percent.

Local teens, meanwhile, consumed more unhealthy food in 2013 compared to last year, with 25.5 percent and 13.1 percent consuming soft drinks and fast foods at least three times a week, up 1.2 percentage points and 1.6 percentage points, respectively.

Only 16.6 percent of the respondents, however, said they eat vegetables at least three times a day this year, down 0.5 percentage points from 2012, implying that the eating habits of South Korean teenagers have been degenerating.

More students also replied that they skipped breakfast at least five times a week, with the portion reaching 26.4 percent, up 1.6 percentage points from last year.

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