Officials in South Korea's capital will target children as young as seven for anti-smoking education and offer acupuncture to help them quit, authorities announced.
The Seoul city government's education office said it has included 24 elementary schools, covering ages 7-12, for the first time in its annual anti-smoking programme.
"It aims to better cope with the worsening smoking problem which damages the health of more students and younger students," Kim Seung-Chan, spokesman for the office, told AFP.
The programme from May to November will also cover 40 middle and 16 high schools, with teachers and counsellors giving classes and advice to help students either to quit or not to start smoking.
Habitual smokers can get free medical services such as acupuncture to help them break the habit.
Acupuncture is one of the most popular therapies adopted by South Korean smokers who want to give up.
One survey of 80,000 middle and high school students by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of young smokers is on the rise, according to the office.
The health ministry put the country's overall smoking rate at 21.9 percent in 2007, according to Yonhap news agency.