Planet China

Sparking debate

In a country that smokes 1.7 trillion cigarettes per year, it was always going to be tough ask to keep the Shanghai Expo tobacco-free. So the organisers designated special areas where smoking is permitted, and bolted cigarette lighters to the tables. But to discourage puffing elsewhere lighters are banned from the Expo site.

Given that many Expo visitors are flagrantly smoking in non-designated areas, this has evidently led to some unconventional methods for the lighting of cigarettes, and the Shanghai Morning Post reports that one desperate smoker used his reading glasses in an effort to harness solar power. The wilier ones have been smuggling in lighters, with nicotine addicts complaining they have no choice because the 43 smoking areas are hard to find. “It is tough for people to walk a long way to find smoking areas, especially under the sizzling sun in such hot weather,” said a visitor from Jiangsu.


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