One out of every 10 middle and high school students in South Korea smokes, with the habit starting at an average age of 12.6, the education ministry said Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Education, a survey of 80,000 students attending some 800 middle and high schools throughout the country found that 11.6 percent of them were smokers as of last year.
The smoking students answered that they began puffing away on cigarettes at the age of 12.6 on average, and 5.4 percent of the respondents said they smoke every day.
About 2.3 percent said they smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, according to the ministry.
The survey also showed that about 19.4 percent of middle and high schoolers drink alcohol and started drinking at the age of 12.8 on average.
About 47.6 percent of them were found to be heavy drinkers, while 0.6 percent answered that they have inhaled butane gas, glue and other hallucinogenic substances, the report said.