By Mike Pomranz
Updated January 22, 2015
Campfire Bacon with Maple-Citrus Glaze

It turns out America isn’t the only country falling out of love with bacon. In parts of China, officials are blaming an increase in air pollution on the long-standing tradition of smoking bacon in the winter.

Earlier this month, the city of Dazhou in China’s Sichuan region—an area well known in the US for its cuisine—began to see severe air pollution. Officials from the environmental protection bureau have laid the blame on local residents smoking bacon at home. No, we’re not talking about some large pork-processing plant; we’re talking about homemade bacon.

About 150 miles south, the city of Chongqing has seen similar problems with higher-than-expected pollution readings. Not long after Dazhou’s proclamation, that municipality—one of China’s largest, with a population of more than 29.2 million—banned smoking meat all together. Violators can face fines of up to $800.

Though no one disputes the popularity of smoking bacon, some people find the pig-cooking excuse a bit fishy. According to MarketWatch, “Zheng Jian, head of Chongqing-based social-service agency Bayu NPO Development Center, was quoted…as saying that while bacon-smoking can affect the air, it’s very unlikely there would be any ‘substantial impact.’ ”

Chinese authorities may want to be careful. When you mess with someone’s right to smoke bacon, you are messing with fire. Kind of literally.