Smoking kills 吸烟致害
BEIJING CRACKS DOWN ON PUBLIC INDOOR SMOKING. 北京公共场所室内施行禁烟令。
The air of Beijing’s indoors (and hopefully outdoors as well!) is getting clearer starting Monday the 1st of June as the government launches its strict smoking ban. The government has hired several thousand inspectors to fine anyone that is seen smoking indoors 200CNY. In China, there are 300 million recorded smokers of the 1.3 billion that live here. Beijing holds home to 4.2 million of these smokers, having admitted in a survey to smoking 14.6 cigarettes daily. 1 million of the smokers in China die each year. To solve the health crisis and affects to second hand smokers, Beijing takes the smoking community by storm to uproot the continuous problem.
So I’m wondering: what caused this widespread trend of smoking back in the day? Is it the aesthetics, the appearance of smoking a cigarette? Could it be our world’s trendsetters, famous designers, actors and singers, who seemed to be getting along just fine through smoking? Generations of teenagers and adults have been hardwired to consider a cigarette as an accessory rather than a health risk. Cigarettes have been used for fashion editorials; they represented inspiring female characters in films and were hanging out of the mouths of our favorite singers and bands.
Our society is currently undergoing this conflicting period of change where major trendsetters are trying to inflict positive lifestyle choices on the community. For example, fashion editorials now have models holding fruit rather than cigarettes. More photos of celebrities are based in juice bars than nightclubs. Although this isn’t the case for all celebrities and societies around the world, it’s a start. People are starting to realize that there’s a major problem that needs to be fixed. Now the reality of quitting smoking isn’t just a suggestion, but enforcement in one of the world’s largest – and trendsetter – cities. It’s very possible that the combination of new trends and law enforcement could be the beginning of the end to the smoking era.
Whether or not the ban successfully encourages smokers to quit, the message still needs to be strongly communicated that smoking has real consequences that affect the people around you as well. Not only does it influence others to smoke, especially the young population around you, but second hand smoke is also very dangerous for anyone who catches a whiff. Beijing has started by trying to tackle the problem in its city, so hopefully other countries will see this as a good example and follow the movement as well. At the end of the day, there will always be a new trend or fad that does more harm than good. What will be our next cigarette?
Pictures selection & words by Haley Sommer.
Translation by Jasmine Wang.