South Korea is undoubtedly one of the smoker-friendliest countries on earth. With one of the highest smoking rates in the world, the prevalence of attractive smoking advertisements, and cigarettes available nearly everywhere, it’s an easy city to light up in. According to the Ministry of Health, 25% of South Korean adults and 10% of teens are smokers- and an astounding 44% of adult men smoke.
There are possibly several reasons behind this: not only are cigarettes cheap in Korea but apparently, most of the men begin smoking during their military service, which is mandatory for all. Also noteworthy is the small number of adult women who smoke; it’s traditionally taboo for women to smoke in Korea, and a number of Korean women have taken to “smoking openly as a gesture of affirmative action”.
However, all of this could change soon: the South Korean government has recently proposed a slew of anti-tobacco measures, which include an 80% price increase on tobacco products, requiring photographic warnings on packs of cigarettes, and introducing smoking bans in several public places.
Which is where we come in. Because cigars are smoked tobacco products, it’s going to get a lot harder to find places to smoke our beloved cigars in South Korea.
A good place to start online is looking through the archives of the Seoul Cigar Aficionado Society Blog– which, sadly, looks to be inactive now. Still, their list of cigar-friendly places is a great place to start.
We’ve heard good things about the BURN Lounge and Cigar Bar located at Yongsan gu 305-7, which also features live jazz acts, and a good selection of wines and cocktails. The 3 Alley Pub is known as a “foreigner bar”, and is a lot more casual than BURN, but also cigar friendly.