ChinaDialogue reports that officials from Cangzhou City in Hebei province vowed to quit smoking in a (stupid, theatrical, useless) attempt to help combat the awful air conditions in the region. To prove the seriousness of the situation, a party official threw away his pack of cigarettes as he made the statement. This assured his audience he would never smoke again, because we all know that once your cigarettes are gone, there’s no chance of finding another pack in China in order to satisfy your nicotine fix.
This pseudo-effort by the local government was received poorly. China Youth Daily asked if it was a joke, while stating that their assertion that smoking is a prime contributor to air pollution was a “sign of ignorance”. The Party Secretary for the district maintains “Quitting smoking is a concrete move. It’s also a commitment to ourselves, our families, and the environment.” Even though this effort won’t make the air clean, if these officials can keep to their commitment they may raise awareness about China’s severe tobacco addiction.
According to The Tobacco Atlas, China’s annual cigarette consumption is at a staggering level of 1,711 per capita (neighbor India has a per capita rate of 96). To put that in perspective, a study from Gallup shows that the amount of adults that smoke in China is equal to the entire population of the United States of America. 60 percent of men smoke occasionally, while only 3 percent of women make the same claim. Shanghai teenage girls are reported to have been increasingly picking up the habit, and apparently even local turtles are smoking too.
China Daily reports that due to a 56 percent increase in lung cancer over the past decade in Beijing, the city has put forth efforts to a number of efforts to curb the consumption of cigarettes and prevent smoking related illnesses. Shanghai has also tried to make the city more smoke-free by banning smoking in public places, but these laws are often (i.e. always) ignored.
Image via: @Ernie