And new laws being introduced in the Hermit State not only brazenly ignore the Supreme Leader‘s habit, but may also lead to a massive increase in production of cigarettes on the black market according to Ruth-Ann Monti. Ms Monti, author of North Korea in 100 Facts, made her remarks after a new tobacco prohibition law was passed by the Supreme People’s Assembly.
The law “stipulates the rules which all the institutions, organisations and citizens must follow in protecting the lives and health of the people and providing more cultured and hygienic living environments,” according to the Korean Central News Agency.
Public spaces such as theatres, schools and hospitals will be impacted.
The irony was not lost on people living in the Hermit State, given Kim has been pictured on numerous occasions with a cigarette in his hand.
Ms Monti said: “Kim is like his father in many ways that include being a chain smoker and buying the most expensive cigarettes out there for himself and high-ranking officials. (The same with booze.)”
One of the world’s most expensive brands, Davidoff, is produced in Switzerland, Ms Monti pointed out.
She added: “Kim attended a boarding school in Switzerland for a few years and I would bet that’s a favourite brand.”
Ms Monti said: “It will be interesting to see if he cuts down on smoking in public or at least stops allowing photos of himself smoking!
“He does try to project an image of being one with the common people.”
She also suggested any strategy based on cracking down on legal cigarette production was likely to backfire dramatically.
She explained: “If the government also reduces cigarette output, this will create an enormous opportunity for NK’s thriving black market.
“The NK people are quite ingenious when it comes to producing banned or restricted goods on their own.
“Many have been brewing their own alcohol for years using acorns because grain is so expensive and tightly rationed.
“I’m sure they will find a way to grow tobacco, too.”