Smoking Cafe last oasis for increasingly ostracized smokers


Japan has a long way to go when it comes to eliminating the public health hazards associated with smoking, but recent public policy efforts have caused a serious change in attitude toward smokers.

Smoking sections in restaurants and cafes are becoming smaller and increasingly more isolated, while fleets of bike-mounted enforcers hand out humiliating fines to those caught smoking on designated no smoking streets.

Finally, however, smokers can indulge in their pastime in peace at the Koshigaya Laketown shopping mall in Saitama Prefecture. A new specialized cafe, Smoking Cafe Briquet, caters specifically to tobacco connoisseurs with a variety of smoking merchandise and cigar and cigarette selections, with every seat in the house safe to light up in.

We sent a reporter and long-time tobacco fan along to try the place out. He soon discovered that Smoking Cafe Briquet doesn’t mess around.

Best of all, though, the entire cafe is one giant smoking section, so now smokers will finally get to glower at the non-smokers arrogantly sucking up all the precious second-hand smoke with their despicable clean lungs.

f you’re a smoker and wish you could enjoy one last cig in a comfortable environment without receiving glares or being subjected to the coughs of irritated patrons, be sure to check out Smoking Cafe Briquet’s website here.

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Have Japan’s Anti-Smoking Laws Gone Too Far? -- Company Advertises Jobs Online: “We do not employ smokers” -- Have Your Tobacco Rolled By Sexy Women at Japan’s First “Shag Bar”

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I wouldnt even call that a cafe. What a stupid name. Especially inside a mall full of people who may or may not be smokers.....Ban smoking forever I say, because you know its bad. Who wants to smoke something that has battery acid inside or some other crap that can kill you.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

Smoking sections in restaurants and cafes are becoming smaller and increasingly more isolated

The hell they are! Has the author been to Tokyo? The restaurants I go to a lot are 'smoke all you like'. I like the food but it really is hell breathing in those obnoxious fumes. And it's usually the women who smoke. Absolutely selfish.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Ban smoking forever I say, because you know its bad. Who wants to smoke something that has battery acid inside or some other crap that can kill you.

@ hikkifan17: Just curious, are you in favor of legalizing marijuana? It seems that a lot of the ban cigarette smokers are also for legalizing pot, saying that it is all natural. So are cigarettes.

At least in America, when you smoke, you are smoking for "the children" since a law was passed that some of the taxes collected on cigarettes go to support the children's health care fund in states. So something that bad, yet is sanctioned by the USA FDA and money from it goes to support "the kids" is viewed as bad. I am not a smoker, and don't care to be around them. But I think it is time for governments to treat people like adults. If you want to smoke, then you should do so in designated areas in public I agree. But if I as a private citizen, wanted to open up a bar or place that allows smoking a legal substance on the inside, I should be able to do so. As customers, you have a right to choose to come into my place, knowing that smoking is allowed or not to come in. If I fail because of people not wanting to be in smoke filled rooms while eating or drinking, then I fail. If I succeed, and it becomes "the place to be" then those who want to come in but don't like smoke, just have to learn to find some other place or accept that smoking is allowed in my place of business.

Too many times, government "do gooders" stick their fingers into places where they don't belong. Try fixing the streets or stamping out construction projects that lead to nowhere before you begin policing if people are smoking in a building.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Finally, however, smokers can indulge in their pastime

eh? What part of Japan is this person in? Last time I looked it's still difficult to find a completely non-smoking restaurant. I've never seen any 'enforcers' and it's the first time I've even heard of them. As far as I'm concerned, Japan is at least 20 years behind in this department.

11 ( +13 / -3 )

The death knell for smoking in public places arises when the government passes laws so that all workers are entitled to work in smoke-free environments. Happened in a number of countries in the last 15 years (including Irish Pubs!)

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I believe Kanagawa passed a no smoking bylaw in bars and restaurants a year or so ago and saizeriya have some completely no smoking places, many places have also decreased the smoking areas in their restaurants in recent years.

Smoking is for suckers.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I'd say that the general trend in Tokyo has been toward closing down smoking places. I'm a smoker and there some places (Shibuya especially) where it is incredibly difficult to find restaurants or cafes that allow smoking.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

As someone who smokes (lightly I feel I have to point out), I take this as a good sign. I'm sicking of people giving me dirty looks whenever I light up in an open space. The most recent incident was in a park. There had been no-one around at the time, but some anti-cigarette fanatic jumped out at me like a Ninja just as I was finishing up, only to look at me like I was something they'd scrape off the bottom of their shoe. It's not like they're better than me. I saw the same person in the supermarket a few days later, buying alcohol, processed meals and fatty foods en masse. Because that's healthier than cigarettes. Alright, if I was smoking 10 a day, then fair play to them. But I don't even smoke one a day. Generally speaking I smoke one cigarette per shift, which averages to 5 a week. And who cares if smoking's bad for your health? Given the decline of society, I'm more likely to get stabbed to death or hit by some a-hole driver who didn't indicate/ran a red light. Hell, I'd bet money on being killed by a Muslim extremist or in a terrorist attack. But knowing my luck, I'll end up getting killed by a pigeon. I try to ignore these anti-smoking protestors, but they go out of their way to get under my skin. I wish they wouldn't. What right do they have to pass judgement on me like that? To shun me and lecture me when they no nothing about me, except that I smoke. None would be the answer And most of them aren't even in any kind of position to judge me, with the skeletons in their closet. No, I think this Smoking Cafe is a good idea. A place for smokers to get together, socialize, escape the prejudice and relax.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )


The author is explicitly a smoker, for whom the glass is half empty, and Starbucks a threat.

I'm curious as to whether this 'smoking cafe' allows children.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I hate smoking with a vengance! But in the UK, the smoking ban has helped, with the state of the economy and multiculturalism, to close many pubs, and therefore many businesses. I believe designated 'smoking' pubs should be allowed. But then, all the business would go there. Smaoking and drinking go hand in hand for a lot of folks.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This site is chock-full of anti-smoking extremists. They must run these articles because they love to hear smokers getting bashed.

Waiting to hear all the comments saying 'How dare someone try to make a business open to public blatantly pro-smoking!'

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Waiting to hear all the comments saying 'How dare someone try to make a business open to public blatantly pro-smoking!'

Hate to call you out on it, you have already made that statement without the need of the anti-smoking extremists.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Apart from feeling sorry for the poor kids who end up putting themselves at risk of lung cancer, just for the sake of a part time job (working at this cafe), i am all for it.

I absolutely dispise the smell of cigarettes, to the point where i sometimes feel physically sick when someone lights up next to me; but i wont stop them doing it in a space that doesnt affect me or anyone else who doesnt want to wiff their disgusting habit.

Smoking cafes (could serve dirt water to save money, not like smokers are gonna realise), Smoking restaurants (serving up bland food, not to interfere with that glorious cigarette smoke), smoking bars, smoking parks... Lets do it! Just keep the smoke from getting outside those areas.

Always find it funny that on a long weekend, the ONLY shinkansen carriages that have any seats left are the smoking seats. Doesnt that tell you something? Even smokers dont want to sit in that crap!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Smoking is an addictive destructive habit that destroys lives.

That said, if you enjoy and want to smoke an adult should have the option to enjoy an environment that caters and allows grownups to make grown up decisions about their own health and choices. A smoking café is far more acceptable than a criminalized response to personal choices that harm no one else.

That said, smoking is an addictive destructive habit that costs everyone something in public health costs.

That said, smoker café may be subject to additional taxes to contribute solely to tobacco related cessation and medical treatment. The body does not require nicotine, addicts do.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I dont know, most places are smoking in Tokyo and I could care less if anyone glares at me..they are welcome to my smoke for free

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

Smoking is for suckers comment gets the thumbs down from the smokers lol, suck harder fools.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Last refuge? Increasingly ostracized?

Puhleeeze. Japan is a smokers paradise. Bars, restaurants, Izakayas, and still most coffee shops and cafes all permit smoking. McDonalds has smoking seats. Up until the worldwide clampdown last month, my local Starbucks was giving customers ashtrays if they wanted to smoke at the veranda tables.


The best seats in the house in a short Hokkaido summer and we had to get smoke in our hair and clothes to enjoy it. This finally ended what, a decade or more after Starbucks became a worldwide no-go for smokers. I've been to Starbucks in Australia, NZ, Hong Kong, Dubai, Bangkok, London, Singapore, Shanghai, to name a few, and only in Japan have I ever seen anyone allowed to smoke inside or out. Or given ashtrays to do so. I'm surprised they didn't hand out lighters.

Japan as a nation is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century on a raft of issues and as with many other societal anachronisms, is not giving up smoking without a fight.

So spare us please, the lament for the 'rights' of smokers. Japan is one of their last bastions in the developed world.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

There are some simple facts people seem to constantly miss when it suits them.

Smoking kills people and seriously effects health, and not only the people who smoke but those around them.

What more does anyone need to know?

I can drink and eat rubbishy food all day every day and as long as I don't do something stupid after drinking all day it doesn't directly have any impact on anyone else.

Just like my "right" to punch the air ends before your face, your "right" to smoke should end before my lungs.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Just like my "right" to punch the air ends before your face, your "right" to smoke should end before my lungs.

Hahaha thats gold!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

your "right" to smoke should end before my lungs.

Right. Smog is not the default position, unless you live in 21st century China or 18th century London.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Kudos to NZ2011 for precisely laying out the rebuttal.

Francis Urquhart, sorry, but while you sound like a nice person, you have completely missed the fact that you are killing those "kids" unfortunate enough to be working in that restaurant. How could you.

I completely oppose the idea of a smoking cafe as it does nothing to alleviate the burden to society and the health system that smokers cause as their habit drags them down.

SimonB, I believe many other countries and USA states have the opposite result. People who had avoided smoking bars and restaurants flocked back with their kids in tow to enjoy a safe and pleasant environment.

Fox Cloud Lelean, it doesn't really matter how many cigs you don't smoke every day. The fact that you smoke even one means I have to avoid you on the street, sit upwind from you in the park, and will certainly give you a dirty glare because you are being terrifically selfish and inconsiderate. As all smokers are, it seems.

End result should be no smoking indoors anywhere or on the streets in this crowded nation. Smoking only inside your own home or somewhere completely isolated from people and your polluted air. End result is also that a lot of people quit smoking as it becomes such a hassle, and that, my friends, is a very good thing. A complete ban BY THE LAW would make Japan a paradise.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Smoking is only perpetuated in business and society because it is highly addictive and makes huge amounts of money.

Businesses push it because it makes them money. Smokers twist and turn their arguments for smoking to remain legal because they are addicted, and it is the addictive voice inside them talking.

Exactly the same with alcohol.

These things are destructive, pure and simple and are a hangover from the past that needs to go. Japan as a culture clings to the past more than probably any other country in the world (just look at the average Japanese office) so the problem is even worse and immovable here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan is rather smoker friendly. This article seems to think Japan is, well, L.A. or San Francisco. Well, it ain't. Kudos to all you here who've pointed that out.

I am always in favor of making smoking more difficult. And I smoke. Uhm, meaning, when tabaco inhalation is easier to do, I do it more easily. When it is not, I don't as much. And I appreciate not doing it as much.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If only Japan was more strict on smoking. Me and my wife ended up leaving a restaurant/bar which allowed smoking all over the shop, something that would never have happened in a more modern country where this health issue's concerned. As everyone here says, almost everywhere has smoking sections, sometimes I see them twice the size of the smoke-free ones, which can mean waiting for a seat as no-one wants to sit in the smoky part. Then there's The Hub, fun to socialise in, not so fun to get drowned in smoke in.

Japan has a lot further to go than this mistaken article suggests, though having specialised places like the above may well help to transition, I don't even want to think of the health dangers of spending more than a few minutes in one.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Smoking Cafe"

Ah, so a Dotour on any given day then. Have trouble finding the counter through all that bloody smoke!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Refuse to go to any establishments that allow smokers - ignorant bunch.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Refuse to go to any establishments that allow smokers"

I think that is what they were going for with this. Please, don't go. People there are trying to enjoy themselves and your whining would only ruin it for them

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I wonder if the employees have to sign a waiver saying they won't sue for any illnesses (cancer) caused by their work environment.....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ya gotta love this piece-The World is up in smoke ,& all these posters can do is cry about how they're gonna die from second hand smoke! All of this animosity would have never come to pass if people who smoke today had common manners & sense-30 yrs. ago!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

kcjapanSep. 04, 2013 - 11:36AM JST Smoking is an addictive destructive habit that destroys lives.

Alcohol kills a lot more, so do fast foods... but I don't see anyone going into a McDs, ordering a salad and GLARING at anyone who orders a big mac.

That said, smoking is an addictive destructive habit that costs everyone something in public health costs.

And alcohol isn't addictive? Oh, wait, it is if you have the gene for alcoholism. What about fast foods? They're specifically designed to "taste good" (i.e. give you pleasure), and that in itself is a form of addiction.

That said, smoker café may be subject to additional taxes to contribute solely to tobacco related cessation and medical treatment. The body does not require nicotine, addicts do.

Sure, tax away, its a choice after all. ... but don't whine when a Big Mac gets an extra 3000% tax and you have to drink your beer out a shot glass, because you were 100% behind "sin" taxes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"smoker café may be subject to additional taxes to contribute solely to tobacco related cessation and medical treatment" - Frungy, note it says "smoker café may be subject to additional taxes" - that is considered a form of discussion not a statement of a required condition.

Your personal attack seems pointlessly combative considering, "grownups (to) make grown up decisions about their own health and choices" - a hysterical attack on the concept of specific taxes to help those who smoke in illness and in attaining health isn't alarming, it's considered common sense. In the end it is still just a suggestion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As sympathetic appears to be this article I don't believe it very much. That because as other posters said Japan is Smoker-friendly, to say that smokers in Japan are ostracized is an exaggeration, It would be if there was a ban on indoor smoking such as restaurants, pubs, hotel halls, hotel rooms, and other closed public spaces (indoor pools etc). I'm a smoker and that's normal in my country.

The idea of the businessman that developed this cafe is golden, because there will always be smokers that would want to go to a restaurant or bar and have a smoke while eating or drinking (personally I don't like it much) this business is for these people, who like that and they don't want the frowns of the non-smokers.

Non-smokers obviously would never go there, but they cannot criticize it the same as prune housewives would not approve or go to strip clubs so it would be "live and let live".

But, mark my words, this business is a moneymaker and I hope that all the taxes will go to a good cause.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Alphaape I hate that weed crap too, smells nasty and no I ain't pro for legalizing marjiuana. Anti-Marijiuana For Life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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