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SKorean University Seeks to Bar Smokers

The head of a major South Korean university is planning to bar students who smoke and to start a campaign against excessive drinking. Oh Myung, president of Seoul's Konkuk University, told Thursday's Korea Times that a new admissions policy would give extra points to non-smoking applicants.

"I will definitely introduce the new system to remove smoking students from our school," he was quoted as saying in an interview.

"Although we cannot exactly tell smokers from non-smokers during admission interviews, we will ask students to sign an agreement that they will not smoke," Oh said, adding he would also try to foster a responsible drinking culture.

An education ministry official said he was unsure whether the plan would cause legal or administrative problems.

Student association president Kim Woo-Jin was quoted as saying they would take "proper action" against the plan, but were confident it would never come into effect.

South Korea has one of the developed world's highest percentages of smokers, although the ratio among men fell below 50 percent for the first time last year. About 49,000 people are estimated to die each year of smoking-related diseases, according to the private Korean Association of Smoking and Health.


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