The defense military has declared a war on smoking, unveiling a plan to lower its service members’ smoking rate by 3 percentage points this year.
Some 47.2 percent of military personnel were smokers as of the end of last year, higher than the average of 39.6 percent for the country’s men, according to government data.
“Under the smoking reduction goal, the defense ministry designated 100 non-smoking units of the armed forces nationwide in May and has taken other anti-smoking measures,” a ministry official said Monday.
It marks the first time that the military has selected units for its anti-smoking campaign in order to induce the members to quit the habit.
The entire compounds of 21 military units out of the total 100 were designated as non-smoking zones, and all members of the units, including their commanders, were advised to give up smoking for more than six months, the ministry said.
To help the personnel curb tobacco use, the military has offered a variety of anti-smoking programs, including consultation and medical treatment over a six-month span, it added.
The military units that manage to bring down their smoking rates to below 5 percent will be declared a “success” and win a prize of 1 million won ($940) and sporting goods, the ministry said, adding that individuals will also be given small gifts.
The ministry added that it will also “intensively manage” the remaining 79 units, where all members are willing to quit smoking, by offering them diverse support for six months with a goal to cut their smoking rate in half.