A North Korean anti-smoking campaign has apparently failed to persuade young leader Kim Jong-un to quit, despite his late father’s warning that “a cigarette is like a gun aiming at your heart.”
During a public campaign to lower the country’s high rate of smoking, Kim was seen without a cigarette for more than 80 days, sparking speculation that he might have kicked the habit.
However, a photo in the North’s top newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, last week of Kim smiling and holding a burning cigarette while visiting a children’s camp in Pyongyang seems to have dampened such expectations.
There have been plenty of photos of Kim lighting up in the past.
He smoked when he inspected a ballistic missile plant, visited construction sites, toured a hospital, and attended various sports competitions and art performances.
The North’s state media have been hailing Pyongyang’s “hectic” anti-smoking campaign, which has been staged nationwide over the past month.
Korean Central TV recently aired a documentary series focusing on health risks from smoking, with one female interviewee saying: “People who smoke first thing in the morning are disgusting and harmful to others.”
Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, and grandfather, Kim Il-sung, were also heavy smokers. Both died of heart attacks.
“A cigarette is like a gun aimed at your heart,” Kim Jong-il said in early 2000, when he appeared to have kicked the habit.
However, he lapsed in 2008 and died three years later.
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