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Volume 44(6); November 2011
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Special Article
Public Health Challenges of Electronic Cigarettes in South Korea
Sungkyu Lee, Heejin Kimm, Ji Eun Yun, Sun Ha Jee
J Prev Med Public Health. 2011;44(6):235-241.   Published online November 14, 2011
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.2011.44.6.235
  • 45,413 View
  • 177 Download
  • 44 Crossref
AbstractAbstract PDF

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarrettes) were recently introduced and advertised as a smoking cession device in South Korea. As the social norm to quit smoking has gained hold in the country, the number of e-cigarette users is growing rapidly. This phenomenon should be urgently considered, because of the lack of research that has been conducted to examine the safety of e-cigarettes and its efficacy as a smoking cessation aid.

This paper raises several public health concerns on e-cigarettes in South Korea. Uncertain regulations of the government on e-cigarettes are contributing to an increase of e-cigarette users and allowing the e-cigarette industry to circumvent existing regulations. The aggressive marketing activity of this industry is also a core factor that is responsible for the rapid increase of e-cigarette use, in particular among the youth. Following the enforcement of tobacco control, some cigarette smokers may be encouraged to purchase e-cigarettes in order to circumvent the regulations, even though the dual use of e-cigarette and cigarette may be more harmful.

Until there is clear evidence of the e-cigarette's safety, it is recommended that the industry's marketing and promotional activities be banned and closely monitored, and public campaigns be initiated to educate the public regarding e-cigarettes.

Summary

Citations

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Original Articles
Deprivation and Mortality at the Town Level in Busan, Korea: An Ecological Study
Min-Hyeok Choi, Kyu-Seok Cheong, Byung-Mann Cho, In-Kyung Hwang, Chang-Hun Kim, Myoung-Hee Kim, Seung-Sik Hwang, Jeong-Hun Lim, Tae-Ho Yoon
J Prev Med Public Health. 2011;44(6):242-248.   Published online November 14, 2011
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.2011.44.6.242
  • 10,408 View
  • 94 Download
  • 30 Crossref
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives

Busan is reported to have the highest mortality rate among 16 provinces in Korea, as well as considerable health inequality across its districts. This study sought to examine overall and cause-specific mortality and deprivation at the town level in Busan, thereby identifying towns and causes of deaths to be targeted for improving overall health and alleviating health inequality.

Methods

Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for all-cause and four specific leading causes of death were calculated at the town level in Busan for the years 2005 through 2008. To construct a deprivation index, principal components and factor analysis were adopted, using 10% sample data from the 2005 census. Geographic information system (GIS) mapping techniques were applied to compare spatial distributions between the deprivation index and SMRs. We fitted the Gaussian conditional autoregressive model (CAR) to estimate the relative risks of mortality by deprivation level, controlling for both the heterogeneity effect and spatial autocorrelation.

Results

The SMRs of towns in Busan averaged 100.3, ranging from 70.7 to 139.8. In old inner cities and towns reclaimed for replaced households, the deprivation index and SMRs were relatively high. CAR modeling showed that gaps in SMRs for heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and physical injury were particularly high.

Conclusions

Our findings indicate that more deprived towns are likely to have higher mortality, in particular from cardiovascular disease and physical injury. To improve overall health status and address health inequality, such deprived towns should be targeted.

Summary

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
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Changes in Contribution of Causes of Death to Socioeconomic Mortality Inequalities in Korean Adults
Kyunghee Jung-Choi, Young-Ho Khang, Hong-Jun Cho
J Prev Med Public Health. 2011;44(6):249-259.   Published online November 14, 2011
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.2011.44.6.249
  • 14,210 View
  • 82 Download
  • 20 Crossref
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives

This study aimed to analyze long-term trends in the contribution of each cause of death to socioeconomic inequalities in all-cause mortality among Korean adults.

Methods

Data were collected from death certificates between 1990 and 2004 and from censuses in 1990, 1995, and 2000. Age-standardized death rates by gender were produced according to education as the socioeconomic position indicator, and the slope index of inequality was calculated to evaluate the contribution of each cause of death to socioeconomic inequalities in all-cause mortality.

Results

Among adults aged 25-44, accidental injuries with transport accidents, suicide, liver disease and cerebrovascular disease made relatively large contributions to socioeconomic inequalities in all-cause mortality, while, among adults aged 45-64, liver disease, cerebrovascular disease, transport accidents, liver cancer, and lung cancer did so. Ischemic heart disease, a very important contributor to socioeconomic mortality inequality in North America and Western Europe, showed a very low contribution (less than 3%) in both genders of Koreans.

Conclusions

Considering the contributions of different causes of death to absolute mortality inequalities, establishing effective strategies to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in mortality is warranted.

Summary

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Arterial Stiffness is Associated With Diabetic Retinopathy in Korean Type 2 Diabetic Patients
Yong-Woon Yun, Min-Ho Shin, Young-Hoon Lee, Jung-Ae Rhee, Jin-Su Choi
J Prev Med Public Health. 2011;44(6):260-266.   Published online November 14, 2011
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.2011.44.6.260
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives

We evaluated the association between common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT), brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), carotid plaque, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) as indicators of macroangiopathy and diabetic retinopathy as an indicator of microangiopathy in type 2 diabetic patients.

Methods

We analyzed 605 type 2 diabetic patients registered at a public health center in Korea. Following overnight fasting, venous blood and urine samples were collected and analyzed. The CCA-IMT, levels of carotid plaque, baPWV, and ankle-brachial index (ABI) of the subjects were assessed. We used non-mydriatic fundus photography to diagnose diabetic retinopathy. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the association between macroangiopathy and diabetic retinopathy. CCA-IMT and baPWV were divided into tertiles: CCA-IMT, 0.39 to 0.65 mm, 0.66 to 0.78 mm, and 0.79 to 1.30 mm; baPWV, 9.9 to 15.8 m/s, 15.9 to 18.9 m/s, and 19.0 to 38.0 m/s.

Results

The association between baPWV and diabetic retinopathy remained significant after adjustment, with an increasing odds ratio (OR) in the second tertile (OR, 2.41; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.27 to 4.55) and the third tertile (OR, 4.63; 95% CI, 2.33 to 9.21). No significant differences were observed in carotid plaque, PAD, and each tertile of CCA-IMT.

Conclusions

BaPWV was associated with diabetic retinopathy, while CCA-IMT, carotid plaque, and PAD were not. This study suggests that the association between macroangiopathy and microangiopathy may be attributable to functional processes rather than structural processes within the vascular system.

Summary

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Disparities in Health Care Utilization Among Urban Homeless in South Korea: A Cross-Sectional Study
Changgyo Yoon, Young-Su Ju, Chang-yup Kim
J Prev Med Public Health. 2011;44(6):267-274.   Published online November 14, 2011
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.2011.44.6.267
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives

We examined health care disparities in Korean urban homeless people and individual characteristics associated with the utilization of health care.

Methods

We selected a sample of 203 homeless individuals at streets, shelters, and drop-in centers in Seoul and Daejeon by a quota sampling method. We surveyed demographic information, information related to using health care, and health status with a questionnaire. Logistic regression analysis was adopted to identify factors associated with using health care and to reveal health care disparities within the Korean urban homeless population.

Results

Among 203 respondents, 89 reported that they had visited health care providers at least once in the past 6 months. Twenty persons (22.5%) in the group that used health care (n = 89) reported feeling discriminated against. After adjustment for age, sex, marital status, educational level, monthly income, perceived health status, Beck Depression Inventory score, homeless period, and other covariates, three factors were significantly associated with medical utilization: female sex (adjusted odds ratio [aOR, 15.95; 95% CI, 3.97 to 64.04], having three or more diseases (aOR, 24.58; 95% CI, 4.23 to 142.78), and non-street residency (aOR, 11.39; 95% CI, 3.58 to 36.24).

Conclusions

Health care disparities in Seoul and Daejeon homeless exist in terms of the main place to stay, physical illnesses, and gender. Under the current homeless support system in South Korea, street homeless have poorer accessibility to health care versus non-street homeless. To provide equitable medical aid for homeless people, strategies to overcome barriers against health care for the street homeless are needed.

Summary

Citations

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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health