North Korea is trying to tackle smoking

North Korea is trying to tackle smoking
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is often seen smoking during his inspection visits. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: How does a country like North Korea tackle one of the world’s highest smoking rates when its supreme leader Kim Jong-un sends the wrong message by constantly lighting up in public?

There have been a number of campaigns against smoking in North Korea, where according to data from the World Health Organization, nearly half of all men but no women smoke.

Earlier this month, a law passed specified a ban on smoking in public places in the country and set out rules to provide a “more cultured and hygienic” environment for the people.

But state media often show Kim Jong-un with a cigarette in hand, setting a bad example. So what exactly do North Korea’s anti-smoking measures achieve?

The Tobacco Prohibition Law adopted in early November sets out rules that all citizens, organizations and institutions “must follow in protecting the lives and health of the people”.

The law tightens the “legal and social controls on the production and sale of cigarettes and on smoking as required by the state tobacco-prohibition policy”.

The law also mentions places where smoking is banned, such as areas meant for “political and ideological education”, education units, theatres and cinemas, public health facilities and public transport. There’s talk of penalties, but the country’s state media haven’t said what they are.

Days after passing the new law, KCNA, state news agency, reported that smokers could be at greater risk of contracting the coronavirus, citing “doctors and experts around the world”.

Anti-smoking drives became a regular occurrence in North Korea after it became a signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which it ratified in 2005.

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