According to the Bank of Korea, households in South Korea spent a record high of KRW 4.3 trillion (USD 3.96 billion) on cigarettes and alcohol in the period between July and September. This was a 6.2 per cent increase compared to the same time span the year before. It is also the highest quarterly figure since the central bank began recordings in 1970, reports the Korea Herald.
It is thought that the sharp increase is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent stricter social distancing measures that have been put in place. At the same time money spent on entertainment, sports and recreation plummeted as concerns of mass virus transmission grew and venues were closed.