Chain-smoking communists in northern China have sworn to stub out their cigarettes as their contribution to bringing the country's air pollution crisis under control.
At a town hall meeting this week, party officials from Yunhe district in Cangzhou, Hebei province, pledged to confront their nicotine addictions. Zhang Lianwen, a senior official, grabbed his packet of cigarettes, crushed it and hurled it into a nearby bin, according to the 'Yanzhao Metropolis' newspaper. "I will make my contribution to the blue skies of Yunhe," he said.
Research suggests air pollution from coal burning has cut more than five years from the life expectancies of those living in northern China. Cigarettes also contribute to dangerously high levels of PM2.5, an airborne particulate linked to heart and lung disease.
China has more than 300 million smokers, with 600,000 new cases of lung cancer reported each year. (© Daily Telegraph, London)