May 31 was World No-Tobacco Day, which never fails to attract plenty of publicity in China, the world’s largest smoking nation. China, as many people who live here can attest, is a smokers’ paradise. You can spark up anywhere at any time without much retribution.
Bans are symbolically introduced and meekly enforced. Officially, Beijing has had a ban on smoking in restaurants and other public places since last year. The signs are up, but the rates of smoking are anything but down.
I couldn’t help but find it odd then when I saw these photos in China Daily showing children getting on board the No-Tobacco bandwagon. After all, what better way to encourage kids not to smoke than dressing them up as cute cigarettes?
The slogans are admirable, but one can’t help but think it’s almost a subversive way to recruit the next generation of smokers by burning the image into their minds at an early age and associating cancer sticks with fun and merriment for the camera.
This, of course, without mentioning the tobacco industry in China is am exclusive State monopoly.