Spring into bad habits – smoking quota in China

Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette Puff, puff, puff until you smoke yourself to death. Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate That you hate to make him wait, But you just gotta have another cigarette.

Local government officials in China have been ordered to smoke nearly a quarter of a million packs of cigarettes in a move to boost the local economy during the global financial crisis.

Oh. My. God. I cannot take this in.

Honestly folks. The material writes itself. I just deliver it.

The edict, issued by officials in Hubei province in central China, threatens to fine officials who “fail to meet their targets” or are caught smoking rival brands manufactured in adjoining provinces.

Local schools have been issued a smoking quota for teachers, while one village was ordered to purchase 400 cartons of cigarettes a year for its officials, according to the local government’s website.

China has 350 million smokers. A million of whom die each year from smoking-related illnesses. Despite anti-smoking campaigns, cigarette taxes form a major component of China’s regional tax base.

In the late fifties, cigarette companies hired cargo planes to drop crates of cigarettes over Shanghai (this tidbit from a Slavonic prof at the University of Victoria) – His father was a doctor at the local hospital – and within days the wards were full to bursting with patients – all suffering from nicotine toxicity. The goal of the drops were to establish a beach head in a community… with fresh addicts.