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What is the best way for the government to cut the smoking rate in Japan?


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Ban JT advertisements and STOP it from Sponsoring Sports Programmes and using same Logo for Foods/Drinks Products.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Education - and I don't mean only for the kiddies. I think a lot of people in Japan seriously have no idea that smoking can lead to all sorts of health issues. A concerted year-round effort may help. That and share the dangers of smoking on adverts and on the package. Just telling people to mind their manners when smoking is frankly sad.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Ban it in all indoors places, unless they make a closed-off smoking room, like Tully's does. No smoking while walking in the streets, anywhere - have designated smoking corners. Ban advertising is common sense, but they'd rather annoy the general smoking public than risk Japan Tobacco's ire /money.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Make them Y5000 a pack, and make a "pack" 5 cigarettes.

But, I'm sure the government will just either get AKB 48 to do a "smoking is bad" poster campaign; or they'll make up a mascot called NoSmo-kun or something equally pointless and stupid.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

1 . Raise the age for smoking by 1 year every year. I.e. Young people will never reach the age when they're allowed to smoke, but older smokers (who are already addicted) can keep smoking.

Stop the public display of smoking products. Have the cigarettes behind a curtain in the combinis, have the faces of the vending machines darked out until you insert your card (which validates your age and right to buy cigarettes). Basically treat it like porn is treated in many countries.

Make separate ventilation a requirement for all smoking areas. No more arbitary line between the smoking and non-smoking areas with smoke wafting across. Smoke must stay in the smoking areas.

Don't stigmatise smoking any further. Teenages LOVE to rebel and will go out and buy alcohol, etc because it's seen as an "adult" thing. Allow smoking advertisements, but allow no actor under 70. In short make it appear to be an "old person's" habit and the youth will reject it with amazing speed! This is how pipe smoking died out, it was an old person's habit and the youth wanted nothing to do with it. Health warnings just make it look dangerous and teenagers love risks (unprotected sex, fast motorbikes, drinking too much, etc). Make smoking look old, fuddy-duddy and unfashionable.
9 ( +10 / -1 )

A substantial price hike, well over the 1000 yen mark, plus making smokers pay for their own health care, regardless of whether they already pay health insurance might make a few people finally take notice.

Agree with Maria about banning it indoors. For a so-called developed nation, Japan has some very antiquated social mores...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

kaminarioyajiJun. 13, 2012 - 10:13AM JST A substantial price hike, well over the 1000 yen mark, plus making smokers pay for their own health care, regardless of whether they already pay health insurance might make a few people finally take notice.

... and what's next, people who eat more than one hamburger a week, people who are "overweight" (which is 99.9% of the Westerners in Japan by the Japanese standards)?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Stop making cigarettes..

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Tell everybody that smokes to add more time between each cigarette.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Tell me, why bother harassing us in the first place? There will always be a black market and the government will always want our money. With the national debt as high as it is now, there are better things to do than further cutting tax revenue and inconveniencing people. If you go after my vices, be prepared to defend your own. Yeah, let's kick all the bar patrons out into the streets, where the children can see them act like inebriated pigs. Or maybe we should just treat each other with dignity and respect ;)

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Treat each other with dignity and respect! Yeah! That's a novel idea! Like a lot of smokers do when they light up in public places and share their second-hand smoke (i.e., carcinogens ) with us who don't smoke!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Show the results of smoking as photos on packs of cigs, raise the price and ban smoking from all indoor public and workplaces. Basically make it socially unacceptable.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ban indoor smoking. Want to smoke? Go outside and do it on that cold winter day. Raise the tax on tobacco by 70%. Keep doing your moral classes on school and telling kids why is it bad to smoke, but then don't let those teachers to go smoke once they're finished with their "why smoking is bad" classes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Increase the price significantly, and get rid of all the cigarette vending machines...Just for starters..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Does anyone here actually have some solid reason/fact to be taking this position or is it simply out of belief/dislike/spite? Think about it. Yeah, vote me down while at it, i don't care. Just following what the society tells the position on smoking is? Following your heart? (no, i'm not being sarcastic)

I understand how you all feel about the smell of smoke.. Years ago, when i was a kid i felt the same way, but one day it all changed.... no, it wasn't by my choice at the moment but i don't care anymore. To be honest, i think it made me a more understanding person, from that moment on, i didn't judge anymore...

My answer the question posed by the editor is: to teach the truth, no more and no less. Solid science, not marketing spin, not hysteria. Teach understanding and not stigmatize. The anti-smoking effort should not be funded by the companies that sell smoking cessation drugs. That's a conflict of interest plain and simple. Science should be impartial and not tampered with. Emotional bias and foaming at the mouth have no place in the conversation, both sides have to compromise and people who want to quit should not feel pushed one way of the other.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

In the UK the anti-smoking campaigns are run by the Government (National and devolved) and by the National Health Service. Nothing to do with anti-smoking drug manufacturers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Politicians love money my friend.. Do you really believe they will refuse the money? Johnson and Johnson as well as Pfizer are raking in millions and paying for the smoking ban legislation in the US. Do you really think they won't spare a few thousand for some drone in the UK?


You know what makes you hate the smell of cigarette smoke? Ammoniated recon. "Reconstituted tobacco" is made from stems and stalks treated with salts of ammonia to liquify them. Then the pulp is rolled into sheets and dried. It's what gives that burning sneaker smell. This was introduced in the '60s by Phillip Morris, the maker of Marlboro. Before that, in a survey taken in either the late '40s or the early '50s (i forget) indicated that nonsmokers mostly found the smell of cigarette smoke pleasant. This is exactly why some people can't stand cigarettes but have no problem with pipes or cigars.

If people were educated about things like this, i'm sure it could help reduce the number of smokers. (Honestly..)... No one wants to willingly consume tobacco industry's equivalent of "pink slime" hamburger, another ammoniated recon from the big industry.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I don't care if people smoke. let them do it, while having campaigns about the health risks of smoking. However, regulate it. Bars/restaurants where smoking is allowed, let them say so at the entrance, and whoever doesn't like it won't enter. Public places is a different story. Smoking is illegal on most streets in Tokyo, but it's not enforced. Make those guys pay a fine, and things will quickly change. And do make some smoking areas for them. In other words, let the guys smoke, but make them keep it to smoking areas/restaurants/bars/hotel rooms, etc.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

50 bucks a pack will do the trick!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is a difference between a campaign which says that a smoker is hurting himself and needs support from those around them when they make the effort to quit and one that draws emotional parallels between smoking and dirty bomb terrorism or leprocy. Yeah, i'm talking about those.... that subtle difference.

I say, tell them the truth, that cigarette filters release finely chopped plastic fibers into the lungs, and that tobacco grown with cheap phosphate fertilizer contains polonium-210 that can be trapped in the lungs for days and cause cancer thru its radioactie decay process.

Stigmatization is not the honest way to make people quit

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

increase tobacco taxes (at least double to what they are) Ban smoking in public areas (restaurants, parks, etc..) I'll go with REMzzz's idea and have a campaign where they actually tell the truth how cigs are made and what they can do to you.
3 ( +3 / -0 )

For starters, I would very much like to see a law passed and enforced which makes it illegal to take a minor into any smoking section or to smoke in any vehicle (car, bus, train, etc.) with a minor in it. Every time I see parents taking their kids into the putrid smoking section of a restaurant or puffing away in a closed car with kids in it I have to fight the urge to grab them by their necks, shake them and demand to know what's wrong with them. If I had it my way I would prohibit smoking in the presence of any minor anywhere, period.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Raise the taxes on cigarettes, and use every penny of those revenues to subsidize smoking cessation aids - patches, pills, e-cigarettes, whatever. (Different methods work for different people.) I also agree with everything Frungy said. Great ideas.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@timeon, that's absolutely common sense... glad to hear a reasonable point of view from a nonsmoker. Because here in the US it's absolutely crossed the line. In some parts of Chicago, smokers get forced off the sidewalk onto the road where the cars are, and that's the only place they could smoke, since it's banned anywhere indoors, in parks and on the sidewalks. Seems parking lots are okay, but not concrete parking structures.

Many places are trying to or already have banned in the person's own car, regardless of whether they have a child or not and not only while driving. It's absurd, i don't want any government to fuss over the resale value of my car, when it's obviously not theirs.

Some cities in California are banning smoking indoors in condos and townhouses, because some crazy woman three units away is complaining about smoke wafting in thru power outlets. If i own my own unit and it's well insulated, who is to tell me i can't smoke in my kitchen? I can fry bacon, burn toast and roast my own coffee, and no one will tell anything about that smoke and those carcinogens. I call that selective enforcement, because burnt toast can make your eyes water too.

I truly hope these means of reducing smoking won't take on in Japan.

And wait, there's more.. Want to create a well sealed smoking room inside a cafe or bar that serves only those over 21? You can't, even if you have the best air purifiers, and all the staff is smokers themselves and they have signed a consent form. Those who have done this before the the ban are NOT grandfathered in, and many have gone bankrupt or in the best case only lost those tens of thousands of dollars they have invested in making those accommodations. What a pigheaded law! It's outright harassment. Those professional Anti-smokers, you give them an inch, they'll take a mile. The Japanese need to pay attention to what has happened in the US and Europe before it's too late.


I can't really agree to keep smoking techers from smoking after the lecture. Let them be. If you keep them from smoking they will take their anger out on the students, unconsciously. It's not about personal morals or character, but rather falling levels of neurotransmitters in certain parts of the brain that makes a person lose it if they are forced to go without. Withdrawal, it's a physical condition, not mental.


I'll go with REMzzz's idea and have a campaign where they actually tell the truth how cigs are made and what they can do to you.

Thank you :) It is long overdue. These are not the only questionable manufacturing practices that need to be made public. There's more. Then there are also techniques used to make cigarettes more addictive. An ideal campaign, in my point of view is a good expose, the truth and nothing but the truth. Stigmatizing smokers helps quietly sweep the truth under the carpet. If not for acrid smell caused by the ammoniated recon, the risks of secondhand smoke would not be overstated, because there wouldn't be such a desire to validate the non-smokers' idea that foul smelling smoke is harming them. Yes, SHS can aggravate asthma, but it won't give everyone cancer, even after decades of daily exposure while sharing the sidewalk... if it takes 40 years if not more to kill a smoker that consumes a whole pack daily.


1 . Raise the age for smoking by 1 year every year. I.e. Young people will never reach the age when they're allowed to smoke, but older smokers (who are already addicted) can keep smoking.

It would be a logical fallacy to say that smoking minors are not addicted. I was. I'm no longer a minor, and i still am. I picked up the habit at the age of 12, and it was hell not being able to smoke. Nobody wanted to help me, my mother didn't believe me, and i said fine, i'd rather be a smoker anyway. I still had to go without except for the occasional cigarette until i could legally buy my tobacco.


Those types of nicotine replacement products (except e-cigarettes) can be made a lot more cheaply if not for the virtual monopoly of the large manufacturers. E-cig fluid is a good example of more nicotine and more effectiveness for the same amount of money. There is no sense in subsidizing those who are price gouging in the first place. E-cigs are affordable already, but a small percent of the population is unable to use them because they are allergic to propylene glycol and glycerin (the former can cause a rash, the latter will give diarrhea to the affected subjects). The problem with e-cigs is that other NRT (patch, pill) manufacturers have sponsored legislation to have them covered by the same ban as tobacco products. It's happened in New Jersey... It's not some kind of conspiracy theory, it's a monopoly that has gotten fat off of people's money and is trying to eliminate any competition that comes along.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The best way to combat this issue is to raise the tax and the price. Restricting ALL establishments from smoking and make it a law with expensive or harsh penalties. Reducing the vending machine venue. No television advertisements during day or evening broadcasting.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ban smoking in public areas (restaurants, parks, etc..)

actually, restaurants are private. what they should do is let the owner of the property decide. if the government wants to ban smoking in streets, parks, etc. they fine. but if a restaurant owner wants to allow smoking, then post a big sign outside and let the customers/workers, etc. decide if they want to go in or not.

japan really should raise the tax rates though. very low compared to other places in the world.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Now, consider the study that came out of India last year. It was found that a disproportionate number of elderly ex-smokers undergoing treatment for lung cancer developed the tumors AFTER quitting smoking, going cold turkey rather than easing off. The study went on to say that the sudden growth and regeneration of (genetically damaged) lung tissue lead to cancer, which as we all know has a high rate of growth and cellular division.

So, knowing this, would you still believe in pressuring people of all ages to quit, or be a little more selective in the category you want to target. I'd love to hear your answers.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )


I totally agree. The warning labels should also say, "Warning: Quitting smoking may cause cancer."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Most of the techniques suggested here are already in place in Australia: Cigarettes are all behind closed cabinets in shops. They all feature graphic images of cancer afflicted patients. They also have a health warning almost as big as the product logo. They also cost the equivelant of 1600yen a packet, AND smoking is banned indoors in ALL public places. Restaurants, even if they are privately owned, cannot allow smoking indoors, and bars/clubs dont allow smoking either.

But still people smoke in Australia. Admittedly its a LOT less than here, but there is no way they could put ALL those measures in place here. Not soon anyway.

I would personally like to see a manners campain, showing how much other people dislike smokers and cigarette smoke. It might be as effective as increasing prices to ridiculous levels, but since most Japanese are very conscious of their manners, it should reduce the amount that non-smokers have to put up with.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The best way to cut smoking rates?? Making cigarettes illegal, and any act of smoking an arrestable offence.

Obviously that isn't going to happen, so steps in line like some other countries have done.

First - make them at least a thousand yen a pack. Second, make all pubs, restaurants, etc completely smoke-free. Third - graphic warnings and preferably images of smoking-related diseases on the packets.

I'd love to see those steps combined with an information/advertising campaign with cancer sufferers visiting schools and revealing their illnesses on TV.

It won't stop everybody smoking, but it's a start.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

They should leave smokers alone. Once they have won this campaign it will be alcohol next, just like in EU. Then fizzy drinks just like in NY. Stupid politicians should butt out (good pun, eh?) telling us what to do with every aspect of our lives.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I see a lot of hatred and hysteria in many comments, that extend beyond protecting themselves from second hand smoke and well into the territory of attacks on other people's dignity and rights.

Don't forget that smoking was legalised on the government's watch and so the government (and that means ALL of you!) shares responsibility for those addicted to tobacco. Advocating measures like criminal charges just means you're crimnals, and advocating increased taxes is just exploiting those who are addicted and will pay any price to get their fix.

Step back for a moment and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. These people were addicted on your watch, and you don't get to hate and exploit their addiction now that it's unpopular. Help rather than hurt, you hypocrits.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

What is really nice is that the government has finally seen the obvious: smoking leads to a health care nightmare. So as a patriotic foreigner I offer the following suggestions.

Go Californian. Ban smoking in all public places without exception. Ban smoking with in 6 meters of all public buildings.

Ban smoking on all public city streets. No more one-eyed children because of careless smokers swinging their cigarette ladened fingers as they walk.

Ban drivers from using the street as their ashtray by flicking their ashes out their windows.

Ban smoking around children, even at home.

Make violators not only pay a stiff fine but also sit on their cigarettes.

Put Japan Tobacco out of business. They are worse than TEPCO.
3 ( +4 / -1 )

Make Common Sense a required class for all elementary schools...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree with the manners campaign. Once smoking has been banned in all public places (buildings and immediately outside buildings) make it socially unacceptable.

We don't want to breathe in your smoke, whether it's directly from the cigarettes, cigars or pipes, or the smoke from your exhalations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Step one would be to have the government divest itself of its 50% stake in Japan Tobacco. Any antismoking efforts from an entity that has such an obvious conflict of interest are pretty disingenuous at best.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Force tobacco companies to remove the addictive and/or carcinogenic compounds they lace cigarettes with, especially the ones that keep the tobacco burning even when not being puffed. Or hell, even force them to sell pure dried tobacco only.

I am really, really sick of people suggesting a crackdown on people for their personal choices, even when there are controls to keep their personal choices away from us. I am sick of people doing that while having little say about the companies blatantly selfish and irresponsible behavior. Its long past time to attack the content of the smokes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Way to go, irishosaru, as if prohibition works. The Yakuza would be delighted if cigarettes were outlawed.

@Frungy, i appreciate you level-headed, common sense look at this situation. I wish there was more of that in the world. And i wish the campaigns against smoking were less hinged on emotion and based totally on solid science instead. I'm all for truth in advertising.

@edwardstark, In much of the world, it's even worse than just "saltpeter"/potassium nitrate in cigarette paper... it's that AND ethylene-vinyl-acetate glue rings for supposed "fire safety", to make it stop burning, while saltpeter is making it burn faster... Everyone knows that the safety aspect is bull, because it makes burning ashes drop off in one big chunk, the whole "cherry". That, and it totally ruins the taste of tobacco, which is why i will not smoke storebought cigs here in the US... I'm all for having a cleaner, more "honest" product..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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