Thursday, May 7, 2009


...DO Smoke

Surprising China…

Chinese ordered to smoke more to boost economy

Local government officials in China have been ordered to smoke nearly a quarter of a million packs of cigarettes in a move to boost the local economy during the global financial crisis.

The edict, issued by officials in Hubei province in central China, threatens to fine officials who "fail to meet their targets" or are caught smoking rival brands manufactured in neighboring provinces.

Even local schools have been issued with a smoking quota for teachers, while one village was ordered to purchase 400 cartons of cigarettes a year for its officials, according to the local government's website.

The move, which flies in the face of national anti-smoking policies set in Beijing, is aimed at boosting tax revenues and protecting local manufacturers from outside competition from China's 100 cigarette makers.

In total, officials have been ordered to puff their way through 230,000 packs of Hubei-branded cigarettes worth £400,000. […]

China has 350 million smokers, about a million of whom die each year from smoking-related illnesses. Despite anti-smoking campaigns, cigarette taxes form a major component of China's annual tax-take at local level.

Local authorities in Gong'an county are taking the cigarette quota seriously and have established a "special taskforce" to enforce it. […] (Telegraph)

…Came to its senses

A local government in central China has backed down on an order which asked civil servants to smoke more to help boost the regional economy. […]

The order made headlines in major newspapers around the world after being made public, triggering waves of criticism that it was a complete waste of public money.

Local officials defended their decision, saying the directive was misinterpreted.

The original aim, they say, was not to encourage officials to smoke more, but to give more support to the local tobacco industry. The county government can impose duty on sales of cigarettes produced locally. […] (ANI)

And the devilish marketing:
Is it a cigarette pack or is it a phone?

They do start them young. Check out this disturbing video