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N. Korea apparently struggling to lower smoking rate

All Headlines 13:26 May 31, 2011

SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) -- At least a decade has passed since North Korea's official media began urging its people to quit smoking ahead of 2012, the year it aims to become a "great, prosperous and powerful nation," but recent reports suggest the smoking rate among North Koreans remains high.

In a report marking World No Tobacco Day, which falls on May 31, Pyongyang's official Korean Central Television reported Tuesday on the government's anti-smoking campaign without mentioning its stated aim of lowering the smoking rate to 30 percent by 2010.

According to earlier North Korean media reports, 54.7 percent of the population smoked in 2008.

The North Korean regime, however, has been persistent in its efforts to reach its goal, enacting a law in 2005 to restrict smoking and banning advertisements in public places that relate to smoking.

These actions came after Korean Central Television made a broadcast in June 2000 that called on the North Korean people to give up smoking and contribute with their healthy bodies to building a "great, prosperous and powerful nation." The year 2012 marks the centenary of the birth of North Korea's late founder, Kim Il-sung.

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