A county government in central China has rescinded an order intended to make officials smoke more to help the local economy, Reuters reported. Functionaries in Gongan county in Hubei province had been ordered to smoke at least 23,000 packs of cigarettes a year, worth nearly US$586,700, to cushion government finances, according to state media. Those who failed to meet smoking targets or were caught smoking brands from other provinces would have been fined, the reports added, citing a government document issued earlier this year. A statement placed on the county government’s website said the order violated regulations about the issuing of notices. The edict had originally been made to prevent the illegal distribution of cigarettes in the county and “to protect tax revenues and consumers’ rights,” it added.
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