Opium Suppression Movement Day is observed on June 3 every year. This Taiwanese holiday is dedicated to ending cigarette smoking. The opium suppression movement in China inspired this initiative. By spreading awareness about the dangers of smoking and tobacco consumption, the day hopes to get smokers to quit and prevent others from taking up smoking. 46% of Taiwanese men and 6% of women are smokers, and of the country’s 23 million people, around five million consume tobacco products. Cigarette smoking causes cancer, lung disease, and heart disease. In light of these statistics, the importance of this date becomes clear — quit smoking today!
History of Opium Suppression Movement Day
In 18th-century China, opium was a popular and forbidden drug. Millions of citizens were opium addicts, and smugglers imported massive quantities of the drug to supply them. The government imposed a zero-tolerance policy and enforced it with imperial police. By 1839, the Chinese had seized a massive haul of opium belonging to the British East India Trading Company. It took the better part of three weeks to destroy the cache. This action would kick off the opium wars. In the 20th century, opium in China was seen as the cause of widespread social dysfunction. In the 1950s, Mao Zedong’s government began strenuous efforts to end the consumption and cultivation of opium in China, a largely successful movement that eradicated opium from the mainland.
Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover smoking. On his arrival to the New World in 1492, he was presented with many dried herbs that the indigenous people called ‘tobaccos.’ The smoke from these leaves made the users feel intoxicated and sleepy. Others chewed the leaves to achieve the same effect. Tobacco use spread across Europe and England in the 1600s and 1700s, at one point becoming a monetary standard. Tobacco was smoked in pipes and cigars, chewed, or consumed as snuff. In the early 19th century, cigarettes arrived in the U.S.
Today, an estimated one billion people worldwide are smokers. Cigarettes cause close to half a million deaths annually and other ailments like cancer and lung disease. In countries like Taiwan, where smoking has been a popular pastime since the 1960s, eradicating smoking is an important cause. Taiwan adopted Opium Suppression Movement Day to stamp out smoking in the country for good.
Opium Suppression Movement Day timeline
Tobacco is cultivated in Europe, in Santo Domingo.
Dr. Benjamin Rush writes about the medical dangers of tobacco.
The U.S. imposes federal taxes on cigarettes.
Medical reports linking smoking to lung cancer begin to appear, but newspapers are reluctant to publish the reports because tobacco companies advertise their products in their publications.
Opium Suppression Movement Day FAQs
How did opium affect China’s population?
Opium weakened a large percentage of the Chinese population and led to massive debt because silver began flowing out of the country to pay for the drug.
When did opium become a problem?
Opium imports increased significantly during the Qing Dynasty (1644) and by 1729, it had become such a problem that the sale and smoking of opium were prohibited.
How did China get rid of opium addiction?
Mao Zedong’s government eradicated opium consumption and production in the 1950s through social reform and unrestricted suppression, executing dealers, forcing millions of addicts into compulsory treatment, and introducing new crops in places where poppies were grown.
How to Observe Opium Suppression Movement Day
Use the money you would have spent buying cigarettes on something else instead. Perhaps a new pair of clothes, a book, or a spa day. Pamper yourself.
Do the math
Need a little incentive to quit smoking? Take a moment to calculate how much you spend on cigarettes and how much you stand to save if you stop. The figures may surprise you.
Think about why you smoke
Grab a pen and paper. On one side, write down the reasons you smoke and what you gain from smoking; on the other, write down what you gain from quitting. You’ll find the positives outweigh the negatives. Keeping these thoughts in mind will help you stay on track when cravings creep in.
5 Sobering Facts About Cigarette Smoking
Leading cause of preventable death
Worldwide, tobacco use is responsible for more than seven million deaths each year and is the leading cause of preventable death.
Smoking affects millions of Americans
Over 16 million Americans live with a disease caused by smoking.
Counting the cost
The total economic cost of smoking adds up to more than $300 billion annually, including $225 billion in direct medical care for adults.
Thousands become smokers every day
Every day, around 2,000 people under 18 smoke their first cigarette.
A million dollars every hour
Tobacco companies spend about $22.5 million a day advertising tobacco products, coming close to $1 million an hour.
Why Opium Suppression Movement Day is Important
Cleaner, healthier lungs
Quitting smoking reduces your risk of developing diseases. These include lung cancer, bronchitis, and emphysema.
No more putting others at risk
Secondhand smoking affects nearly 34,000 premature deaths among nonsmokers. Quitting means you won’t place your family and friends at risk anymore.
One cigarette shaves 11 minutes from your life. When you quit smoking, you’re prolonging your life and taking steps to live a healthy lifestyle.
Opium Suppression Movement Day dates