Leader of the hermit kingdom North Korea, Kim Jong-un, has reportedly decided to ban foreign cigarettes and has ordered officials to smoke only domestic cigarettes saying it was a matter of patriotism.
Kim, who is known to be a heavy smoker himself, said that there was no need for foreign cigarettes inside his country where domestic ones are of equally good quality, South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported citing a source involved in trade with North Korea.
The leader – who is currently been referred by the UN to the International court for the human rights issue in his country – reportedly said that smoking foreign cigarettes betrayed patriotism.
This comes after reports from South Korea earlier said that North Korea planned to crack down on bulk tobacco sales before a hike in tobacco prices scheduled for January. Those who sell large volumes of cigarettes may face two years in prison and a fine of 50 million won ($45,000).
Recent sales of tobacco in the country were reported to be high as smokers have been stocking up ahead of the scheduled price hike.
Kim, who is thought to be in his early 30s and educated in Switzerland, has often been pictured smoking or has been spotted puffing during his public appearances. The brand of his cigarettes has not yet been known.
The orders issued by the dictator might have stopped the North's imports of foreign cigarettes, but it can't be said with certainty if the measure will actually stop people from consuming them in a country know for smuggling of different things, Yonhap cited observers as saying.