Stroke Survivor Kim Puffs Away

Despite strict anti-smoking laws, North Korean leader takes a drag
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 26, 2009 7:33 AM CST
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, center, puts a cigarette in his mouth at the Hoeryong Taesong Cigarette Factory in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea.    (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
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(Newser) – President Obama isn't the only world leader with a less-than-consistent message about smoking. Despite his reported stroke last August, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was recently photographed puffing on a cigarette during a recent tour of a tobacco factory, reports the AP. One photo shown on North Korean state television shows Kim—in a parka, fur hat, and his trademark sunglasses—exhaling smoke, apparently enjoying a cigarette produced on site.

North Korea has been waging regular anti-smoking campaigns, with Kim calling smokers among "three main fools of the 21st century," along with those who don't appreciate music and those who don't use computers. The North implemented anti-smoking laws in 2004 controlling the cultivation, production, import, and sale of tobacco. It also stripped smokers of certain rights, including attending university, to discourage the habit. (Read more cigarette stories.)