At the beginning of every summer I start to crave travel due to the smells in the air. I can’t quite explain it, but it is a mixture of the summer heat with the dirt of the streets and the smell of smoke (though random here in Utah). This concoction of smells seems to hit me on a daily basis and makes me crave international travel.
Interestingly, I read the article in the Wall Street Journal “China Aims to Limit Smoking in Public.” The article (which for some reason I can’t find a link to right now) talked about how the in place ban on smoking is actually going to be enforced as it poses a threat to the public. According to the article 2/3 of all men smoke, one million people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses and the Chinese government produces all the cigarettes, making it the world’s largest cigarette maker. The obvious economic benefits have deterred the government from enforcing the ban, but this is soon to change as China is getting pressure from a United Nations public health treaty and the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics pledge to make the 2008 Olympics smoke-free.
I can’t even imagine a smoke-free China and found the article so amusing since the smell of smoke is what triggers my memories of the foreign land. The smoke is so absolutely consuming in that country that I, a non-smoker, started to crave the tobacco taste while visiting and actually smoked a little at the end of my month long backpacking trip.
The Olympic pledge is definitely a valiant effort and I hope they succeed. It will create a completely different, and healthier, experience for the Olympic visitors. In the meantime I will continue to daydream of my Chinese travels as the smoke wafts through the air.