A year after North Korea adopted a ban on smoking in public places, the party committee of North Hamgyong province reviewed compliance and the effects of the ban, and fired staff who had obstructed its implementation.
A source from North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on November 23 that “On November 11, the Party Committee of North Hamgyong Province held a meeting with staff from the party, administrative and judicial authorities on the question of how the smoking ban was implemented. . “
For four days, from November 2-5, the party committee sent inspection teams to various locations across the province to assess compliance with the smoking ban. The teams were made up of senior officials, administrative and judicial officials as well as experts.
According to the source, the inspection teams secretly visited public spaces, nurseries and educational establishments, organizations linked to public transport and medical and health establishments – all places where smoking is prohibited – to get a clear idea of the situation on the ground. Inspections confirmed that some North Koreans continue to smoke illegally.
In addition, the inspection teams visited tobacco factories, state stores, market stalls and other facilities and found that there were violations of laws regarding production and sale. of tobacco.
“At the meeting, they reviewed records of the production and sale of tobacco plants from last year and reconstructed the actual sales of stores and stalls that sell tobacco,” the source said. “Based on this, it was determined that those responsible for implementing party policy were primarily to blame for the problems, and they came under heavy criticism. “
The meeting highlighted in particular how harmful smoking is for the population.
Given that “the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and smokers are at a higher risk of severe cases because smoking damages the lungs and respiratory tract,” the provincial party announced it would punish those who continue to violate the regulations related to smoking in defiance of common sense.
As a result, it was reported that the provincial party identified staff members guilty of following only the letter but not the spirit of the smoking ban and removed them from their posts.
The mismanagement of the Provincial Center for Tobacco Research and Education was also raised during the session, and affected staff were dismissed. Some staff members who had manufactured and distributed undeclared cigarettes for their own profit were also dismissed.
Additionally, the source said that in schools where the Patriotic Socialist Youth League found cases of underage smoking, all league representatives were fired.
Anti-smoking laws were passed in North Korea on November 4 last year at a plenary meeting of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Congress. Rodong Sinmun described the laws as “rules that all institutions, organizations and citizens must follow to create a more cultured and hygienic living environment.”
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