Gillian Wong of the Associated Press wrote about a battle over tobacco heating up in China—pun intended. China also signed the global anti-tobacco treaty backed by the World Heath Organization (WHO) to cut tobacco use. In fact, WHO awarded China’s Health Minister Chen Zhu for his efforts to battle tobacco use.
However, in China, tobacco companies sponsor public schools. Something similar happened in the US when Coke and Pepsi installed vending machines in the public schools where students could feed their sugar cravings and grow obese at the same time by drinking sodas.
In fact, at Nogales High School in La Puente, California where I taught for years, I was told one morning by the truck driver filling the vending machines in the halls that more than two-thousand cases of Coke were selling a week there.
I complained in writing, of course, but was told by a district administrator that the money made off all that teenage sugar consumption was more important (not in those exact words but that’s what he meant).
The school district made a nice profit from its share. Now, it seems selling sodas at school may be against the law.
Maybe the US was China’s role model, but the Chinese have gone one-step further by (according to Gillian Wong) taking elementary students on school sponsored tours of cigarette factories where the slogans say, “Talent stems from hard work, tobacco helps you become accomplished.”
Where’s Qin Shi Huangdi when China needs him most? After all, when the first emperor wanted to get something done, nothing stopped him. He unified China, finished building The Great Wall, mandated one written language and had the scholars who complained dig their own graves before setting them on fire and throwing dirt on the remains.
On the other hand, if China did nothing, the One-Child policy could be abolished to make up for deaths caused by tobacco use.
In fact, China should encourage smoking to reduce the population. Estimates say that one in three young men will die early from tobacco use. Within fifty years, China’s population problems would be solved while private companies make massive profits from smoke.
Did you know that the US State Department helped open China to US Tobacco products after the States in America took on the cigarette giants and beat them in courts hurting their profits? After all the smoke cleared in all those courts, big tobacco in the U.S. owed the states $206 billion, and those companies had to open new markets—China was the target.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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