• May 26, 2024

North Korea Bans Public Smoking

 North Korea Bans Public Smoking
Photo: Taco Tuinstra

North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly on Nov. 4 implemented anti-tobacco legislation that includes a ban on public smoking, reports the Korean Central News Agency.

In addition to prohibiting smoking in political and ideological education centers, theatres and cinemas, and medical and public health facilities, the legislation will also reportedly tighten the legal and social controls on the production and sale of cigarettes.

More than 46 percent of adult men in North Korea were smokers in 2017, according to the World Health Organization. But defectors from the country said that the percentage could be much higher as men take to smoking in their teens as a source of entertainment in a place with few alternatives. North Korea claims that no women smoke.

A common joke among North Korean men, according to defectors, is that it is possible to go “one day without eating but no days without smoking,” according to The New York Times. Packs of cigarettes are used to bribe North Korean officials, they say.

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is known as a keen smoker. On North Korean state media, Kim can often be seen taking a drag of his cigarette while inspecting factories, talking with missile engineers, riding the subway and even visiting schools and children’s hospitals.