Reports say the Tobacco Museum of China set up in Shanghai has become a "patriotic education base". However, many people have disputed the contention, saying the museum can be a subtle but effective advertisement for tobacco consumption, says an article in Legal Daily. Excerpts:
The development outlook of the tobacco industry does not look very optimistic. And although the industry still contributes considerable revenue to the State exchequer, the severe health damage that smoking causes is well known.
Many people are asking how could a tobacco museum show only the achievements of the tobacco industry. Huge incomes and stories about great men and celebrities addicted to smoking do not tell much about the harm it causes. So how can the museum be a "patriotic education base" ?
The museum can be a bad influence on young minds. There is no harm in building a museum showing the development of the tobacco industry or tobacco culture. But such a museum should have nothing to do with children's education or propaganda.
Moreover, education should be the preserve of schools, colleges and universities and never be extended to places like tobacco museums, which, according to some experts, can poison youngsters' mind with false information.
Public awareness has played an important role in curbing smoking in the country. Now it has prompted people to question the use of a tobacco museum for charity and patriotic education.
That's why public reaction is much more important for curbing smoking than official actions like the China Tobacco Control Association's request to the Shanghai municipal government to withdraw the museum's "patriotic education base" tag.
(China Daily 08/28/2012 page9)