SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea’s rubber stamp Congress this week passed laws that impose a ban on smoking in public places, such as theaters, schools, and hospitals. But the country’s latest anti-drugs campaign, including penalties for violators, faces a challenge: North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is a frequent smoker. .
For years, North Korea has urged people to quit smoking, hang smoking ban on public buildings, and started a national anti-drug website. And over the years, Mr. Kim has continued to be rude, despite a family history of a smoking-related illness. The doctors said:
The new “tobacco ban law”, unanimously passed by the Supreme People’s Council on Wednesday, “sets forth rules that all agencies, organizations and citizens must follow to protect lives and people’s health and provide a more cultural and hygienic living environment, ”the North Korea’s official central news agency said on Thursday.
According to South Korean and US officials who met Kim, no one in the country, except his wife, Ri Sol-ju, can ask him to give up. The dictatorial “supreme leader” of the isolated nation is considered to be without fault and above the law. Everyone was taught to treat him like gods.
Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, is still revered by Koreans as the founder of their country. When he was alive, he often appeared in public with a cigarette.
Since coming to power in 2011, Mr. Kim has tried to resemble his grandfather in appearance, wearing short hair and wearing a Mao suit. Outside analysts have speculated that Mr Kim also gained weight to copy his grandfather’s work, as part of his propaganda strategy.
The Kim rulers in North Korea have a history of cardiovascular diseases that South Korean intelligence officials attributed to excessive smoking, alcoholism and obesity. Kim Il-sung died in 1994 of heart failure. His son and successor, Kim Jong-il, suffered a stroke in 2008 and died of a cardiac arrest in 2011. Kim Jong-un himself was also affected by rumors of poor health. including diabetes, heart problems and ankle pain caused by his weight.
According to a Japanese sushi chef, Kenji Fujimoto, who served the Kim family in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, Kim Jong-un drank and smoked as a teenager, and later recounted. my experience in interviews and memoirs.
Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, introduced the first anti-shake campaign in North Korea. He famously said, “The three fools of the 21st century are people who cannot use computers, cannot sing and cannot quit.”
“A cigarette is like a gun pointed at your heart!” said one of the anti-slogans that North Korea adopted under Kim Jong-il.
More than 46% of adult men in North Korea smoked in 2017, according to the World Health Organization. But defectors from the country say the rate could be much higher, as males smoke in their teens as a source of entertainment in a place with few alternatives. North Korea claims that no women smoke.
According to fugitives, a common joke among Korean men is that “one day without eating, but not smoking every day”. They say the cigarette packs are used to bribe North Korean officials.
The lifelong smoker, Kim Jong-il, stopped smoking after having had a stroke, but is believed to have continued smoking before he died, according to South Korean officials.
His son, too, is very difficult to break this habit.
According to Bob Woodward’s recent book “Rage”, when the US nuclear envoy, Andy Kim, met Mr. Kim in 2018 in Pyongyang, he saw the North Korean leader light up and told him that that’s not good for your health. Mr. Kim’s top aides, Kim Yong-chol and his sister, Kim Yo-jong, were all stunned. No one in North Korea has ever spoken to their leader that way, except for one. According to Mr. Woodward, quoting Andy Kim, Ri admitted it was true: “I told my husband about the dangers of smoking,” she said.
And in July, two months after North Korea announced the expansion of its no-smoking zone policy, Central TV showed Kim surveying a new general hospital under construction in Pyongyang.
He is smoking.