Photo: Alexander Khitrov/Shutterstock

North Korea Bans Smoking in Public Areas to Protect the Health of Its People

by Eben Diskin Nov 5, 2020

It’s not often that North Korea does something that could be considered praiseworthy, but this new rule might win the country some fans among nonsmokers — and enemies among chain smokers. The Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea has just introduced a new law banning smoking in some public places, to provide its people with “hygienic living environments.”

According to the law, smoking is banned in specific venues like political and ideological education centers, theaters, and medical and public health facilities.

The impetus to introduce such a law was likely the high rate of smoking in North Korea. About 43.9 percent of the country’s male population were smokers as of 2013, according to the World Health Organization. The North Korean leader himself, Kim Jong Un, is known as a chain smoker and often seen with a cigarette in hand when he’s captured on camera or video.

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