People smoke in front of a tobacco shop in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS file
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Outdoor smokers on the rise as April law set to take effect

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I used to smoke for 23 years and quit. My opinion is eateries should be able to decide themselves if they allow smoking or not. Let the consumer decide the fate of their business. I would not eat somewhere that allows smoking but I would have a beer at one.

All these new laws the government here put in place to make Japan look good for the Olympics...

-17 ( +8 / -25 )

If you are going to ban smoking in restaurants and bars then ban it in all and the smokers will get used to it. This has worked in other countries and lots of those places have seen their sales increase as non smokers return to them.

19 ( +25 / -6 )

Hard to find an indoor smoking area? Really? Seems like every Aeon or mall has multiple smoking rooms near the restrooms. I think this has less to do with available designated smoking areas and more to do with the horrible smoking etiquette in Japan.

I'm still holding out for a non-smoking izakaya.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

I have no problem with smokers going onto the roof of a building to smoke. Hell they are outside and unless there is a wicked down current, the wind will move the smoke away from all parties. But smoking in parks and other public places, should be not allowed. It sets a bad example for children, and takes away one small haven that families have to escape to. Come on smokers, try to be more considerate.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Those public smoking areas are foul! Anyone who has lived in Japan will probably know what I mean...Public ashtrays so full of cigarette butts that they begin to smoulder and the toxic smoke that wafts everywhere is horrific.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Another piecemeal edict from the lawmakers and just as people should be social distancing. Smokers will be sharing the virus as they smoke in troves. Another peace meal law by the cronies. And why are universities except from the law? Many students are under 20 and have to endure the smoke all throughout the campus, not to mention those that work at universities.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Smokers gotta smoke-the government shareholding in JT should give rise to segregated areas.

Plenty of money not going around...as usual!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I have sympathy for smokers.

But if I were a still a smoker, the higher mortality rate for smokers with this coronavirus would have me considering an attempt at quitting.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

@Dango Bong

My opinion is eateries should be able to decide themselves if they allow smoking or not. 

I can't agree with you. I hate smoking but I believe someone should be free to smoke when they want. However, some of the things I've seen with smokers is horrific in Japan. I've gone into yakitori, yakiniku, and izakayas and far too often I see babies and children sitting right next to their parents smoking. Also, because of the health issues of second hand smoke, I think it's unfair to subject staff and other patrons to it. While some places have smoking sections, they clearly don't build them properly as I've seen smoke pouring right out into the whole area.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Though I don't smoke, but what about those vapers? Not the tobacco ones, just the scented vape ones? Since combustion/ignition/fire is needed to light something, would these fall under the category of this smoking ban? Cause without fire, there's no smoke.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I hate smoking but smoking in a park, etc, isn't a big deal. As long as they aren't smoking indoors, where passive smoking becomes a risk or where I happen to be sharing the air.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

But if I were a still a smoker, the higher mortality rate for smokers with this coronavirus would have me considering an attempt at quitting.

Smokers know they are going to die early and probably of lung cancer which is a horrible way to die. If they were rational they would have stopped smoking long ago. They are addicts, just like heroin junkies, and cannot stop even though they know smoking will kill them. Of course JT knows this too.

Second had smoke is killing 10,000 people a year in Japan. All smoking in public should be banned and

only allowed in smoke pens that are completed isolated from others. Also the tax on tobacco should be tripled, that is the only proven way to get smokers to quit in significant numbers. Japan is so far behind the ROW on this issue. It is sad. The MOF and their client JT is killing its own people for profit.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I wish the government would allow citizens to enforce the no smoking laws and collect fines directly from the offenders.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Make it a law that they have to carry a butt pouch.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The Japanese Government collects billions of yen each year in tobacco-related tax revenues and still owns 33% of Japan Tobacco stock -- as is required by law. That's a very tasty source of hard cash the government is going to be very hard pressed to replace if it becomes unavailable.

Bars are going to be particularly hard hit, as they have been elsewhere in the world, simply because many places do not have convenient outdoor smoking spots available, and without a place to smoke, smoking customers are going to go elsewhere.

Plus, I wonder how the pious non-smoking public is going to react when they see their consumption tax increase even further, and additional taxes imposed in other areas to make up for the loss in revenue that a truly effective smoking ban will make inevitable.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Ban smoking , The End !

Disgusting filthy stinking habit, serves no good purpose.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Globally, the corona virus has killed 18,000 people so far this year. In the same time-span smoking has killed over 1,000,000 people. Smoking doesn't just kill the addict, but also kills those around them, mostly with long, slow, painful deaths. If governments really are about public health, they ought to treat smoking as seriously as they are treating the corona virus. 

Smoking should be banned in all public places, including parks and streets, it should be illegal to smoke outside your own house or on your balcony, and it should be illegal to smoke inside your own house if children live there. The tax on cigarettes should be raised to reflect the true cost that smoking has on the health system and society as a whole.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

sir_bentley28

Though I don't smoke, but what about those vapers?

I was a smoker for a long time, switched to vaping about two or three months ago. Depending on the vape you're using you can make a place pretty cloudy in no time. Even though I vape I still go to smoking areas.

zurcronium

They are addicts, just like heroin junkies, and cannot stop even though they know smoking will kill them.

LOL,  a little dramatic.

Quitting smoking is hard as hell, if you have never smoked please don't comment on it. I switched to vaping (it is legal to import nicotine liquid), so my goal is to tone down my nicotine intake until I don't need it anymore.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

"I used to smoke for 23 years and quit. My opinion is eateries should be able to decide themselves if they allow smoking or not. Let the consumer decide the fate of their business. "

The problem is that most although most Japanese non-smokers are very annoyed by smoking, to preserve the wa they accommodate the smoker(s) in their group. The smokers take this to mean," ah no one has any problem with my smoking !"...Then there is the issue of workplace health for the employees...

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Smoking does put a strain on the healthcare system. I wonder if there are similar studies in Japan?

Research shows:

[In Canada] The total costs of tobacco use were $16.2 billion, with indirect costs accounting for $9.5 billion, direct health care costs accounting for $6.5 billion, and other direct costs responsible for the remainder.

https://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/2017/10/16/smoking-costs-canadian-economy-more-than-$16-billion-in-2012?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I've gone into yakitori, yakiniku, and izakayas and far too often I see babies and children sitting right next to their parents smoking. Also, because of the health issues of second hand smoke, I think it's unfair to subject staff and other patrons to it. While some places have smoking sections, they clearly don't build them properly as I've seen smoke pouring right out into the whole area.

The staff, the other patrons, they all are free to go somewhere else. I think letting the businesses decide and let nature take its course is best.

In the end, the places that allow smoking would go bankrupt anyway.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Then there is the issue of workplace health for the employees...

they are not slaves they can chose where to work

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I'm a smoker and I never leave butts behind unless there is an ashtray. I don't appreciate the generalisation.

I see a lot of smokers not being conscious of where there smoke is blowing if they are near people. It's not hard to walk a few meters downwind of someone if you are outside at a park.

Yes, smokers should be as conscientious as they can given the circumstances they are provided with.

With that said, let's all stop the witch-hunting of smokers.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Smoking rooms/areas = covid19 cluster hubs.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Smokers would rather croak it over ciggies than the virus anyway.Seeing them pull down their mask to smoke cracks me up.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

So they're not banning indoor smoking. What's the point of this new law then?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Time for us NON smokers to shame them into quitting. They only smoke to fit in.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I wish I could stop my Neighbours using the worst awful smelling cigarettes - the smell wafts around the area like a broken sewer, and leaves the washing with a bad odour.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Look at the photo at the top, there is tobacco advertising all over, specific and generic.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Found a bunch of smokers outside a city hall today. They were in the park smoking in front of a no smoking sign. This experience is a very good example of selfishness.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

 Let the consumer decide the fate of their business. I would not eat somewhere that allows smoking but I would have a beer at one.

once again smokers are in the minority, non smokers should be the ones who dictate whether an enclosed space be smoke free, and not be subject to cancer causing passive smoking.

Smokers aren't the ones that should be dictating where they can or cant smoke inside, their habit not only cause themselves ill health , also those around them that don't smoke. This is far more than smokers rights , it the rights of good health for the majority of the population. As smoker always saw "if you dont like it go someplace else", sorry we live in a democracy its the non smokers right to say "if you dont like it go someplace else" or better still go outside to smoke

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Either ban it completely or add stiff, enforceable and punishable fines where smoking is not allowed no where near an entrance or exit area. We shouldn't have to put up with this bad habit / personal privilege's. We do have the right to clean air and that is not a privilege.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If the smokers want to smoke, do it in their own cars with their windows up. Punish them by having them pickup the many thousands of butts found throughout Japan. Have them clean their messes left behind and not the Lawson's or Family Mart employees. I'm sure the owner doesn't pay them to clean tobacco butts thrown away on the concrete or pavement.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sign of stress, intelligent people do not burn money and kill themselves.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What happened to the law a few years back about smoking out on the street in Osaka?

i developed asthma after only a few years in this country.

the air is much better in Nara where I live now but I still commute thethe charcoal air of Osaka.

consideration of others appears to be a weakness for the Japanese

0 ( +2 / -2 )

When i was a young kid in the 60s & 70s smoking was in every movie, every commercial and every where, it was cool and promoted & supported by society, but times have changed.

I smoked for over 40 years, quit about 10 years ago and was smoking upto 4 packs a day, I can tell you if you smoke now in this world today you are a flaming fool.

It is not that hard to quit, they even have doctors who can prescribe meds to make quitting so god damn easy you will kick yourself for not doing it sooner.,

Now an ex smoker with no tolerance for any one who smokes and their sticking filthy smelling aura.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I used to smoke for 23 years and quit. My opinion is eateries should be able to decide themselves if they allow smoking or not. Let the consumer decide the fate of their business. I would not eat somewhere that allows smoking but I would have a beer at one.

Absolutely. Its outrageous for big brother government to be dictating where we can and can't get cancer. Fine dining establishments should totally be able to decide on their own whether or not they want their customers and staff to get cancer, not the government.

There is just no reason whatsoever for the government to be trying to limit the spread of cancer and we need to end this madness now.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Government agencies find themselves between a rock and a hard place as they try to appease the general public from a smoking nuisance while using a loophole to bring back outdoor smoking areas at their own facilities to satisfy the country's smoking culture."

Easy solution. Ban smoking, 100%. Period. Yeah, Japan would lose a major source of tax revenue, but they would also ease a massive burden on the health care system in the long term. Fine anyone who disobeys 1,000,000 yen for first offence, and give any institutions that permit it a warning. Jail for a second offense for individuals, and immediate closure of any establishments for further infringements. It'll hurt in the short run for some people, but in other nations where smoking is a whole lot stricter than here businesses are not suffering, and a lot of people have quit.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Kiss a non-smoker.Taste the difference.I remember that ad from back in the day!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The root of the problem is the tobacco industry has too much power, economic and financial influence. PMI are a prime contributor to these effects on the environment and society.

If the tax is not increased substantially on tobacco, everything else will be a workaround that will lead to the issues described in this article.

Of course this industry shouldn’t be disincentivized overnight. The government should more seriously consider long term solutions to phase out this industry as much as possible though. Gradual raising of taxes and therefore prices is the way to go.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Uk in 2007 had an all out ban on smoking indoors, at first there was a big backlash to this law, with smokers moaning and complaining, but now its fantastic not to go into a building and it stinking of cigarette smoke, and that horrid stale air, ok there are some people that still smoke, but its on the de cline, also the UK government put a hefty tax on the packet of fags they are around £10-11 each or 1300-1600 yen for a pack of 20, they have stopped selling packs of 10 now. Japans government could start to raise the price of a packet of cigarettes if they wanted to kerb the sale of cigarettes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Are there any anti-smoking campaigns in Japan?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thunderbird2Today  06:12 pm JST

Are there any anti-smoking campaigns in Japan?

Yes - I think it's the "Please smoke carefully" campaign.

Complete with a 90degree bow.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If you get the Coronavirus, smoking is one of the biggest factors leading to your death.

No sympathy from me. Goodbye!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Every obstacle put up results in smokers quitting. My benchmark is the yakitori place downstairs. Staff smokes, smoking allowed, that "green" SMOKING ALLOWED HERE sign on the door. One day, the owner and main cook will be watching his staff succumb to lung cancer. How will he feel then? He encouraged them! I wish this place would truly go cold turkey and stop permitting smoking. Their actual cooking is thoughtful and delicious, but I can't go inside their joint. I keep relations friendly, though. Hoping they will see the light (beyond that match lighting their cancer sticks for all to enjoy). Always shocked that parents take their kids inside to enjoy their first lungfuls of cancer clouds.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Nearly all smokers who defend their "right" to smoke are nicotine addicts. They just don't realize it, or do but don't have the will power to quit. Often even knowing full well that the habit is either pushing them closer to major medical problems as they get older at best and knocking years off their lifespans at worst. Just what is the mentality of tthose who are smoking now when the global COVID19 pandemic is putting even young people into ICUs with damage to their lungs?

The price of cigarettes is far too low in Japan. Doubling the price or more has worked in the United States, something Japan should emulate. The cumulative cost to a country's medical system from the direct and indirect effects of smoking should be a motivator for nations to aggresively stamp out this addiction.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The govt doesn't want people to stop smoking.Ciggies are a drug and the govt are the drug dealers.They could illegalize smoking,but they want that drug money.That's why cigarettes are so cheap in Japan. Just like with cancer. Ain't no money in the cure,the money's in the come back.That's how a drug dealer makes its money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Smoking also greatly worsens outcomes for those who are infected by Covid-19.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Brian Wheway,

Yeah, they've raised the price of smokes twice I think. That was going to be my "If it goes over 500 yen, I'll quit" but then they came right back around with a cheaper one.

Japan tobacco is huge, generating over 2 trillion yen in revenue.

A 100% somking ban will never happen but I'm not against a ban on indoor smoking. As far as privately owned places they should be able to decide for themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cracaphatMar. 25  04:42 pm JST

Kiss a non-smoker.Taste the difference.I remember that ad from back in the day!

Yea. And "Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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