SEOUL, June 1 (Korea Bizwire) – North Korea is again bolstering its anti-smoking efforts, advertising new smoking cessation aids on state television.
On May 30, the Korean Central News Agency introduced a nicotine patch – “a cutting-edge technology quit-smoking aid” – that helps smokers stop their habit. “This highly effective nicotine patch is newly introduced to North Korea, that has been actively promoting anti-smoking in line with the global smoking cessation trend,” the reporter said.
North Korea’s propaganda website DPRK Today also emphasized the harmful effects of cigarettes on May 31, celebrating World No Tobacco Day, stating that “only quitting smoking can protect people’s lives and create a cleaner ecological environment.”
“The time of glamorizing smoking, or seeing it as a pastime activity, has passed,” it said.
Starting last year, North Korea has set forward a major smoking cessation campaign across the country, building what are called ‘anti-smoking research supply bases’ – equivalent to smoking cessation clinics – in major cities, and providing counselling and nicotine replacement therapy as well as treatment for smoking-related illnesses.
Despite the efforts, however, North Korea’s smoking rate is still rising, sources say, with some attributing the increase to leader Kim Jong-un, who is frequently seen smoking on state media.
Multiple videos and images of Kim holding a cigarette have been revealed to the public, including footage released on May 30 of the supreme leader witnessing the test of a precision-guided ballistic missile holding a cigarette in his right hand.
Kim was seen without cigarettes for roughly three months last year following North Korean media reports conveying strict control and punishment against smokers, which evidently didn’t last long.
Kim’s father Kim Jong-il also emphasized during his rule the importance of smoking cessation after himself quitting in 2001. Although the late Kim seemed more determined with the agenda, even introducing a law controlling tobacco distribution in 2005, he eventually returned to smoking in 2008.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)