North Korean Guards - image: SRA Jeffrey Allen

"He began to smoke it with such delight as he had never seen an electric cigarette in his life.

He then began to show all the other border guards and asked if I could give him it."

- British Traveller, Den Dinsdale

This week the Daily Mail reported how a British backpacker baffled a North Korean guard who discovered the traveller’s e-cigarette.  Smoking is popular in North Korea and vaping simply doesn’t exist so the guard initially thought it was a bomb, but after it was explained to him the guard sat down and had a puff.  He even posed for pictures, despite it being illegal for officials to have their pictures taken in relaxed settings.

Later the Guard Asked if He Could Keep the Vaping Device

Unfortunately, as vaping hasn’t reached North Korea yet, there would be no liquid to go in it anyway and the British traveller Del Dinsdale was allowed on his way.

Another guard made Mr Dinsdale delete the pictures, but he rescued them from his ‘recently deleted’ folder.

Earlier this year a smoking chimpanzee became the main attraction at a North Korean Zoo…


Reopened in the summer of 2016, the Central Zoo in Pyongyang caused delight for its vistors, who queued to watch 19-year-old chimp Azalea smoke her way through a 20-a-day habit.

And even thought the chimpanzee has learned to use a lighter too, she was also spotted lighting one cigarette from the butt of another.

Of course smoking is as harmful to chimps as it is to humans, but apparently she doesn’t inhale…