Last month, North Korea launched a nationwide anti-tobacco campaign to raise awareness about the health hazards of cigarettes and encourage its citizens to quit smoking.
Then, in order to drive the point further across, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, a known heavy-smoker, also reportedly gave up on the habit in hopes that his loyal subjects would follow his example.
It was a commendable move, considering the folks in the hermit kingdom are ridiculously obsessed with their tyrannical leader and because the impoverished state has a large smoking population. According to a 2012 report by World Health Organization, over half of North Korean men were smokers, which is apparently one of the highest rates in Asia.
However, during a recent visit to a children's camp in the capital city of Pyongyang, the state media released a picture showing Kim with a burning cigarette in his hand, seemingly undoing all the anti-smoking advocacy his government has done lately.
The photo was snapped when the dictator was “providing field guidance to the remodeled Mangyongdae Children's Camp.”
The incident has given credit to assumptions that Kim, who was last seen lighting up during a ballistic rocket test on March 15, had only stopped smoking for the sake of cameras.
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“A non-smoking research facility in Pyongyang will expand its nationwide anti-smoking campaign through its branch facilities located in each region,” said the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency at the time. “The facilities will distribute products that aid people to quit smoking and are approved by the World Health Organization, such as nicotine gum and the nicotine pill.”
The reclusive state is also regularly broadcasting a weird 40-minute ad where women admonish men for smoking with slogans like “We, women, will be really happy if men give up smoking” and “Mother becomes very anxious when she finds out her son is a smoker.”