Chinese Workers Ordered to Smoke More

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2009 12:53 PM CDT
Chinese men smoke cigarettes outside an office building in Beijing.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Seeking to stem the flow of cigarettes over the border and bolster the local tobacco industry, a Chinese county has ordered local officials to puff only local cigarettes, the Times of London reports. In March, Gongan county mandated that civil servants on its payroll smoke 230,000 packs of locally made cigarettes this year or face a fine. Gongan residents prefer smokes made in neighboring Hunan province. The order has since been rescinded.

One local official said the explicit “aim of this document was to stop the smoking of Hunan cigarettes.” Public uproar, which included the voices of some anti-smoking advocates, resulted in the reversal. “We decided to remove this edict,” the county said; the matter is under study. At government banquets, one Gongan official said, Hunan cigs account for 40% of tobacco offered to guests.