Smoking as a primary goal?

Chinese primary schools are in big-tobacco’s back pocket

It’s no secret that tobacco companies often target young people, but China’s state-controlled tobacco monopoly has taken its advertising campaign a step further.

China Tobacco has built more than 100 primary and secondary schools and named them after Chinese cigarette brands, according to media sources. The schools are often adorned with prominently displayed advertising slogans.

Hanging in the front of the Sichuan Tobacco Hope primary school is a sign that reads, “Talent comes from hard work—tobacco helps you become talented.”

China Tobacco is the largest manufacturer of tobacco products in the world. China is also the world’s largest tobacco market—nearly 60 percent of the nation’s men smoke, and there are 6 million smokers younger than 15.

“The parents are actually very supportive of the tobacco companies,” said Wu Yiqun of the Think Tank Research Center for Health Development. “They think they are giving something back to society, but they are just using charity as a front.”