After drowning in an abundance of second-hand smoke, I cannot help but write about this subject which surrounds me with its fumes on a daily basis. So I have decided to compose a collection of writing regarding smoking in China, ranging from what it is today to why it happens. This is the first of those writings.
Smoking in the PRC is mo-freackin prevalent. China boasts the largest market for cigarettes in the world at about 350 million smokers, it is also the largest producer and consumer of tobacco in the world, when I’m talking about the word “smoking” I mean the smoking of tobacco and nothing else but. So if you smoke weed, this ain’t about you. Most of the addicted smokers here are male (85%), ranging from as young as 10 yrs old to as old as 80 yrs old, woman do smoke but it is rare as the responsibility of bearing children makes one ponder the detriments of smoking. Yes, smokers have hearts too.
The China National Tobacco Corporation (Gov’t operated) is the largest manufacturer of tobacco related products in the world by a mile, it is a virtual monopoly in China, controlling all cigarette brands. Apparently there are different personalities and settings linked to various brands of cigarettes, the really “RED” ZhongHua aka 中华 brand is meant for formal occasions and gov’t related guests, the Panda brand aka 熊猫 is meant for elders and respected individuals, and there is even a new brand called Su Yan aka 蘇烟 for the educated young man, I guess the Su family from the SuZhou aka 苏州 area were really intense smokers who grew some sick tobacco, cuz it costs $50USD for a pack of 10, I know this cause someone recently gave me a whole box of this “Su Yan” as a gift that equates to about $500 USD. I don’t smoke, so I am still holding onto it until I can find a good home for it.
People here smoke every where and during every occasion. I have spotted people smoking from places like the gas station (i don’t know why) and the gymnasium to even the hospital (the doctors are some of the heaviest smokers). People smoke when babies are born and when elders die. To lost weight, man will smoke more and not eat dinner at night, that’s a pretty scary substitute no matter how bad of a cook your wife is. Some smokers are capable of being considerate and would avoid others (especially children and woman) when smoking, but most are very much apathetic about the health of their own bodies and those around them. I have had people smoking right in front of me, as I was huffing and puffing from an intense workout in a gymnasium that has a NO SMOKING sign right in front of their face.
Bottom line is, Chinese people smoke a lot, a whole lot of more than what they should. But there are legit reasons as to why this happens and I will try to explore those as I began to adapt into the social-econ-political culture of this modern and ever changing China.
Would you ever try smoking? or did you already quit? hahaha jk jk