- Dec 17, 2009
No Butts: Officials to Smoke or be Fined (China Forces Smoking)
Officials in a county in central China have been told to smoke nearly a quarter of a million packs of locally made cigarettes annually or risk being fined, state media reports.
The Gong'an county government in Hubei province has ordered its staff to puff their way through 230,000 packs of Hubei-produced cigarette brands a year, the Global Times said.
Departments that fail to meet their targets will be fined, the report said.
"The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax," said Chen Nianzu, a member of the Gong'an cigarette market supervision team, according to the paper.
The measure could also be a ploy to aid local cigarette brands such as Huanghelou, which are under severe pressure from competitors in neighbouring Hunan province, according to the paper.
China has 350 million smokers, of whom a million die of smoking-related diseases every year which will double by 2015 and triple by 2025. More than half of all male doctors in China smoke.
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