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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 10(1); 2001 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2001;10(1): 23-59.
조선후기 흡연인구의 확대과정과 흡연문화의 형성
신규환, 서홍관
The introduction of tobacco and the diffusion of smoking culture in Korea
Kyu Hwan Sihn, Hong Gwan Seo
Department of Medical History and Medical Ethics, Inje University, Korea.
Since its introduction to Korea from Japan at the beginning of the seventeenth century, tobacco became very popular with an amazing rapidity among Koreans. Along with widespread cultivation of tobacco, smoking also became very popular among Koreans, regardless of their classes, ages, and sexes. On the other hand, other imported crops from America via Europe in the sam period, like sweet potato, potato, corn and tomato, did not enjoy such popularity in Korea. A long time after their introduction, Koreans began to cultivate these crops. Why did Koreans respond enthusiastically to the newly-imported tobacco? What kind of factors contributed to the rapid transmission of tobacco in Korea? This study examined the causes of rapid diffusion of the smoking population in three aspects. First was economic aspect. The farming of tobacco yielded a profit by selling it to Chinese. The climate and the soil of Korea fit for farming of tobacco. So the farm land of tobacco expanded gradually since the 18th century. Second was medical aspect. At first, many Koreans believed that smoking was helpful to digestion, expectoration, protecting coldness, and exterminating parasites. Afterwards, they believed smoking could encourage vitality and protect diseases. There was no reason of smoking cessation for the people's health in that the hazards of smoking were not well known to the commonage in those days, though a few intellectuals acknowledge its harm. Third was sociocultural aspect. We could trace the smoking culture of Chosun dynasty through arts, poems, and essays. The making of smoking culture made stable reproduction of smokers generation by generation. Especially, the smoking culture secured juvenile's smoking. Considering the three aspects above, we know that what reason the Decree of Ban of Smoking in Korea was not strict in comparison to that of China (Qing Dynasty), in which the violators were executed. The regulation of smoking by the government failed except controlling in sociocultural aspect. The government reinforced controlling of smoking culture in counteraction to the threat of collapse of the hierarchy of Chosun dynasty in 18th century.
Key Words: smoking culture, smoking population, the Decree of Ban of Smoking, juvenile's smoking
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