Ubiquitous smoking in China has led to high rates of lung cancer and other illnesses; the World Health Organization has estimated that two million people will die every year of smoking-related illness by 2020. Perhaps in order to ensure the next generation of customers, tobacco companies are now funding primary schools throughout China. From the Telegraph:
The schools often have the names of Chinese cigarette brands, such as Zhongnanhai or Liqun, over their gates and in some cases have promotional slogans in the playground.
”Talent comes from hard work – Tobacco helps you become talented,” says one slogan, in foot-high gilt letters, on the front of the Sichuan Tobacco Hope Primary School.
[…] ”It is not just primary schools, they also fund secondary schools and universities. But it is difficult to count them, because the Ministry of Education would not help us,” said Wu Yiqun at the Think Tank Research Centre for Health Development.
”We know there are definitely more than 100 primary schools though.”
There are 16 million smokers under the age of 15 in China, 6.3 per cent of the youth population, according to the Chinese government.