South Koreans bought 930 million 20-cigarette packs, including electronic cigarettes, in the July-September quarter, slightly up 0.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
It was down 22.6 percent compared with the third quarter of 2014, before cigarette price was hiked by a whopping 80 percent in January 2015.
From December 2016, tobacco companies were required to put graphic warnings on the upper part of both sides of cigarette packs to discourage people from smoking.
For the first nine months of this year, the cigarette sale reached 2.6 billion packs, down 0.4 percent from the same period of last year.
The government collected 3.1 trillion won (2.7 billion U.S. dollars) in cigarette tax in the third quarter, up 1.3 percent from a year earlier.