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Japan's male smoking rate drops below 30% for 1st time

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Among age groups, those in their 20s marked the largest decrease, for both men and women, with the proportion of men smoking falling by 4.1 percentage points to 27 percent and the female smokers' rate dropping 1.9 points to 8.3 percent.

Do they count vape in their statistics?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Congratulations Japan, will my HOKENSHO drop by 30% since I am paying the medical treatments of all these smokers and their lung diseases???

18 ( +21 / -3 )

hey, good to hear and keep it up! I'm quite tired of smelling cigarette smoke while eating in public and dudes who accidentally blow smoke in your face while walking.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

""Growing awareness of the effects of smoking on health is likely to be a key driver of the downward trend.""

And the increase in cost of cigarettes late last year, but not to worry the cigarettes makers are hard at work trying to change the laws and produce alternate and affordable types of cigarettes to stay in the killing business.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Japan's male smoking rate has been on the decline since hitting 48.4 percent in 2001.

I could've sworn it was closer 60% in surveys back in the 80s and 90s. Maybe that was just for men. It used to be hard finding guys who didn't smoke back then.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

could've sworn it was closer 60% in surveys back in the 80s and 90s. Maybe that was just for men.

The quote you provided states the highest it ever got for men was 48.4%.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

mark:

Congratulations Japan, will my HOKENSHO drop by 30% since I am paying the medical treatments of all these smokers and their lung diseases???

Too right. I have no problems paying into a scheme which helps people who contract a disease through no fault of their own, but it really bothers me when we have to finance people who are selfish and stupid. We're no longer living in the fifties. Every idiot knows smoking is not healthy, or, as they say in Japan, MAY cause lung cancer and other diseases.

And still, there are so many restaurants which put the rights of smokers before the health of everyone else.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Speed,

Maybe only about 49% of the men smoked but they smoked EveryWhere!

Streets, coffee shops, restaurants, hotel lobbies, work places, the train (even in the non-smoking car), izakayas (of course), bars.

I had one boss who couldn't go five minutes without a cigarette; probably went through five packs during working hours.

I even saw a guy light up in an elevator - how addicted do you have to be to not smoke for 20 seconds? And classrooms (university-level).

I never saw anyone smoke on a bus, though.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

I’d be happier if the number was 0%. But its a step in the right direction....

Anyone else old enough to remember mini ashtrays in airplane seat arms?

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Its fascinating the number of people who will swear they support democracy and freedom while actually supporting authoritarianism with smoking laws that have been passed banning smoking here there and near everywhere. And this despite the fact the article indicates smoking has been on the decline for decades and the driver is actually awareness. Maybe these people actually believe the government will stop at smoking? Or maybe they want fascism?

Every idiot knows smoking is not healthy

Just like a bunch of other things, such as fast food, excessive alcohol drinking, failing to exercise, factory farmed hormone and antibiotic laden meat, and a whole bunch of dangerous activities such as swimming in the sea, bungee jumping, horseback riding and skiing.

At this point people screaming for a "helicopter government" make me sicker than smokers. The government has already banned or defacto-banned too many activities that adults should be able to enjoy when what they should have been doing is ensuring the activities are as safe as possible. Smoking is an example as the cigarettes are laced with horrific chemical additives making them far more unhealthy than pure tobacco.

-12 ( +9 / -21 )

vanessa:

Its fascinating the number of people who will swear they support democracy and freedom while actually supporting authoritarianism with smoking laws that have been passed banning smoking here there and near everywhere. And this despite the fact the article indicates smoking has been on the decline for decades and the driver is actually awareness. Maybe these people actually believe the government will stop at smoking? Or maybe they want fascism?

Oh, puleeez, gimme a break. You really don't understand what the word fascism means, do you? Next, you'll be saying sending criminals to jail is socialism.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Next, you'll be saying sending criminals to jail is socialism.

I think you have never investigated America's prison population, highest in human history. Just your labeling all people who go to jail as "criminals" has grossly over-simplified the situation. You just threw Wesley Snipes the tax dodger in with some guy who smoked weed before sentencing was shortened and death row inmates. Anyway, yes, there are socialistic elements to the way some prison systems are run. Not that I am against socialism per se, but corporate socialism combined with authoritarianism is literally fascism.

Please note how the tobacco corporations are not being challenged directly on the poisons they put in their products. Instead, its the customers being cracked down upon, despite the fact the customer numbers are decreasing essentially without a crackdown, ie the crackdown on customers is not really necessary. Yet, the freedom of the people is so easily tossed in the trash heap but not the right of corporations to poison them. What do you want to call that? I call it fascism.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Good. Let this disgusting habit die out!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Vanessa - you failed to address the most crucial point re smoking. That is the putrid residue of the habit spreads everywhere. The guy sitting next to me eating a ton of fat & sugar doesn't impact my senses and health.

I'm all for the rights of people to indulge as long as they control the smoke from their addiction to within the immediate confines of their own bodies.

I didn't ask to partake.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Total loss due to tobacco health risks (FY2015) exceeds 2 trillion yen.

https://www.med.or.jp/forest/kinen/loss/

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I never saw anyone smoke on a bus, though.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a bus DRIVER smoking. The bus was waiting by a bus stop (it was outside a station, and there were a cluster of bus stops), and the driver was on the steps of the bus by the driver seat taking a cheeky smoking break!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

We are probably light years apart on a host of political/social/ economic issues but in this case I can see the logic in the arguement of Vanessa Carlisle.

Neo-liberal centrists like Michael Bloomberg love to shift the focus of discourse to a micro-management of individual affairs, like smoking, online behaviour, diet. It is a rhetorical feint toward progressive policy. While supporting gross corporate welfare, economic inequality, financial deragulation and regressive taxation schemes.

In the case of Japan, the biggest scandal is not the sometimes inconsiderate behaviour of smokers but the fact the J-gov has been in bed with JT for years!!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well it took long enough ! ...Still it's a good thing. When I first cam to Japan in th 1990s 60% of men smoked, despite the fact that even then, people generally knew the risks.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The guy sitting next to me eating a ton of fat & sugar doesn't impact my senses

He does when you're sitting next to him on the train in summer.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Neo-liberal centrists like Michael Bloomberg love to shift the focus of discourse to a micro-management of individual affairs, like smoking, online behaviour, diet. It is a rhetorical feint toward progressive policy. While supporting gross corporate welfare, economic inequality, financial deragulation and regressive taxation schemes.

I'm a "neo-liberal centrist", and I most definitely do not support corporate welfre, economic inequality, financial deregulation, nor regressive tax schemes.

It's weird that being in the center has now become the enemy to the extremists.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

When I first cam to Japan in th 1990s 60% of men smoked

No, 60% of men didn't. From the article:

Japan's male smoking rate has been on the decline since hitting 48.4 percent in 2001.

Never got past 50%.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

This is an absolutely ludicrous situation where the Japanese government is required by law to own a minimum 1/3rd of Japan Tobacco's stock.

Have you ever wondered why Japan has been so slow to up the taxes on Tobacco and introduce restrictions on sales and advertising . . . . . this is why.

The Heath Ministry then needs to pick up the tab for ongoing heath effects that these products cause.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Perspective is everything. From the American conservative or "neo-liberal" perspective things mainstream in the social democracies of Europe like free healthcare and progressive taxation are labeled as extreme communist, totalitarian positions that will take away our freedoms.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

26 years ago when I came to Japan the smoking on the streets was just horrible and the manners to match. This is a story I can believe, the smoking has dropped remarkably in the last few years and with designated smoking areas you do not have someone walking by you blowing smoke in your face. Of course, in any country you can have the odd idiot who have zero in manners but for he most part again a hundred percent better.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Good, please get rid of it I get sick when even pass a person smoking or even near the sent of that putridly sick and disgusting oder of tabacco.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

People who smoke, drink to excess or have a BMI indicating obesity should pay higher rates for national health insurance, rather than payments being pegged to earned income.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

People who smoke, drink to excess or have a BMI indicating obesity should pay higher rates for national health insurance, rather than payments being pegged to earned income.

I agree. Also, people who play sports should have higher rates, as they get hurt more.

And people who stay up late at night and are sleep deprived, they should also pay more, as they cause more accidents and whatnot.

And people who have underlying health issues, they need to pay more as well.

Those who don't meditate and keep their mental health well should also pay more, since they are more likely to need mental health checks.

I'm sure we can find other groups that should pay more as well, no?

7 ( +13 / -6 )

30% is what it was in the 1980's NZ - it's 12% now.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Never got past 50%.

Japanese men smoking rate peaked at 83.7% in 1966. You are again talking without knowing.

https://www.nippon.com/en/features/h00198/

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The guy sitting next to me eating a ton of fat & sugar doesn't impact my senses and health.

If you are sitting next to a guy who is smoking then you have refused to vote with your feet and your dollars and are not participating in the true democracy, and through your laziness, are now supporting fascism.

Next time you go into an establishment and make a U turn for the door due to the smoking situation, ask to speak with the manager and tell him you are leaving because the restaurant does not have a place where you can be smoke free.

And I mean really, I would have thought capitalism would have taken care of this by now. Can't one of you rabid smoke haters start opening "no smoking" whatevers and make a mint with all your smoke hating customers? Can't one of you make some hugely popular invention that guarantees smoke won't travel far from a smoker anywhere they are? Do you REALLY have to support the government de facto banning yet another joy in life for some people? Is crackdown from the top really all you got?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

That’s an interesting comment about lowering the ‘hokensho’ (health insurance) because of the decreased rate of smokers. What about fast food, rubber from car tires, pollution from industries, EMFs from transformers and radiation from nuclear power plants? All these cause nearly as much cancer as cigarettes.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan's male smoking rate has been on the decline since hitting 48.4 percent in 2001.

This sounds about right. In 2002 I was injured in an accident and I remember sitting in the smoke filled waiting room of a hospital....A HOSPITAL.....waiting to get my arm checked and incredulously thinking to myself "What planet am I on?" as I looked at all the smokers puffing away nonchalantly. You could smoke anywhere in the place except the examination rooms and they even had a cigarette vending machine right there by the front door.

Things have changed a lot for the better since then in that regard.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

And I mean really, I would have thought capitalism would have taken care of this by now.

@Vanessa, why do you have to put a "imflammatory-political-correct-anti-capitalism/anti-imperialist-anti-corporate" spin on everything? What kind of political axe do you feel you have a need to grind?

The article is simply a health ministry statistical report on the declining Japanese male smoking habit. No need to politicize it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Keep in mind, this doesn’t count the people that choose to smoke something other other than tobacco

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Halwick unless my sarcasm meter is off I saw Vanessa Carlisle as arguing for a market solution to the problem of smoking tobacco? Vote with your feet and open your own non-smoking establishments and all that. That is the opposite of anti-corporatism/capitalism. Those market solutions would be particularly ineffective when the Japanese ruling party and bureaucracy have an incestuous relationship with Japan Tobacco.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

sakurasuki I don't know if English is your first language or not but "smoking" means smoking and "vaping" means vaping.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Vanessa - thanks for your reply.

You still didn't address clearly my comments.

I'm not antismoking per se, just keep the smoke within your own zones.

It's simple. If I'm in the park or walking on a street or as this morning waiting in a line outside - I don't want the spoils of smokers joy, spoiling my joy.

The onus is not on non-smokers to create a barrier or invent a device as you suggest to keep smoke close to smokers. No the onus is on the doer of the act.

Similarly outside eaters of food shouldn't discard their leftovers, wrappings, containers etc spoiling the joy of non-polluters.

But I suspect such littering laws set by govts is fascist by your reckoning.

Enjoy your habit, but don't expect the world to enjoy with you.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

When I came to Japan in 1996:

63% of males smoked.

100% of those were males.

23% of those walked and smoked.

and only 10% chance of that.

imakemyownstats.com

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@daito_hak

Thank you for the reference on smoking rates. I should have offered one myself. When I came to Japan (1990) it was very close to what you see in Madmen (USA 1960s)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese men smoking rate peaked at 83.7% in 1966. You are again talking without knowing.

https://www.nippon.com/en/features/h00198/

It does happen on rare occasion.

I stand corrected.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There are a combination of factors at play, but I imagine the price of cigarettes is one of them. When I first came to Japan it was 250 yen a pack, but now I think it is probably double that. I still struggle going to bars when I am in Japan - my clothes seem to absolutely reek of cigarettes the next day.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Tax tobacco into extinction. Ban smoking in all public places. Free smoking cessation programmes.

That’s the way to do it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

the government de facto banning yet another joy in life for some people

My mum, when criticized for her ‘habit’, always retorted that it was her ‘one joy in life’. And a short life it was too. She was dead at fifty, after a lifetime of hacking coughs and respiratory problems. It wasn’t a habit, it was an addiction, and if the authorities can crack down on weed, heroin, cocaine and all the other filth that I admit I am not well versed in, I see no reason why they should not crack down on highly addictive tobacco.

As for it being ‘one of the joys of life’ - thanks to smoking she never got to see her younger son graduate from university, never got to see any of her kids get married, never got to play with any of her grandchildren.

I really fail to see how the joy of coughing your lungs up every morning and having your family worry constantly about your health compensates for the losses.

Is crackdown from the top really all you got?*

Anyone who chooses to start smoking these days, knowing all the dangers, is obviously too stupid to take responsibility for their own actions. So yes, for their sakes and ours, a crackdown, hard and heavy. It seems nothing else is going to stop them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Anyone who chooses to start smoking these days, knowing all the dangers, is obviously too stupid to take responsibility for their own actions.

It's an addiction. They run beyond logic.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's a good start but let's keep pounding this until smoking becomes totally socially unacceptable in Japan. Make the restaurant industry understand that banning smoking helps their bottom line. Rid the addiction and save people's health and money. Force JT to change their business direction.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Like with alcohol, there's too much money to be made from these addictions for the govt and related businesses.It'd be easier to label alcohol and cigarettes as drugs which they are and make them illegal.But govts want that drug money and if you take them up, it's on you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Its fascinating the number of people who will swear they support democracy and freedom while actually supporting authoritarianism

Looks like another Karen has entered the room. I'm guessing VC is a no-masker too. Helping spread Covid-19 around using 'rights and freedoms' as an excuse. Sad.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I had quit smoking when I first came to Japan in 1992, but it was smoker's paradise! I started again. :(

But, I quit again soon. :)

I loved smoking. Cigarettes were always there for you, they didn't lie to you, there was nothing better than a cigarette with a cup of coffee or a cold Asahi or Kirin beer.

But, the smell on your (and others) clothes and hair was disgusting.

Hey, I get the personal freedom and choice thing, but when what you do affects others, it's not just about you anymore. And I think insurance rates should reflect the risks, just like a bad driver should pay more.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I used to smoke. Gave up after 40 years.

I think I am a bit of a better person now to the people who surround me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Next step is to ban and make it illegal to have cigarettes and get them off every shelf in the store as people learn to become smoke free.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's an addiction. They run beyond logic

Exactly. What kind of person deliberately chooses to addict themselves to a ‘habit’ that involves literally burning money, spoiling the environment for all those around, and destroying their own health?

When my parents were young cigarettes were promoted as something that was ‘cool’, as something that, far from being detrimental to the health, calmed the nerves and prevented obesity. By the time the truth came out, it was too late - a whole generation was addicted.

But people today? They have no excuse. They know that cigarettes are deadly. If, in light of all the evidence, they still choose to go down that path, there is only one conclusion we can reach; they are STUPID. (I don’t often use capitals for emphasis, but I do feel this is something that needs to be shouted, loudly.)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good but it would have been Great if Japan ban it like Bhutan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I used to smoke, I don't anymore. When I first came to Japan there was no point not smoking, secondhand smoke was everywhere. Thankfully that's been cleaned up a lot now. My gripe is not with smokers in general or their burden on the health system, it's taxis. I take a taxi to work a few days a week and getting in the cab after the driver has been smoking in there makes me vomit in my mouth a little. I'm not a prude but I (well my boss) pay(s) comparatively a heck a lot for that cab, and it would be great if they didn't f*ing stink. What's more the roof is sometimes yellowish like a skanky pub. I have tried to request a smoke free taxi but the old boys get well hot under the collar for messing with their norm and as I have to use the same rank every week with the same narky old geezers it has become somewhat awkward there and I am now famous for the wrong reasons. Japan please sort this out before you don't host the Olympics, I don't think it will sit well with most foreigners.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

People who smoke, drink to excess or have a BMI indicating obesity should pay higher rates for national health insurance, rather than payments being pegged to earned income.

An argument against that is that such people die younger and therefore reduce the overall cost of health care which increases substantially for those who are very old. But are the current taxes on tobacco and alcohol not already the equivalent of higher health insurance payments?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fruggly

If the cab stinks I simple go to the next one that hopefully is non-smoking. If the smoker

does not like that, too bad. He can stop smoking in his cab. Do the same thing in restaurants,

if it stinks I tell the owner that I am not eating at his place because is not non-smoking. They

can keep their lung cancer to themselves.

Cleo, I rarely agree with you but on this point you are right. If you smoke today you are stupid.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, they COULD make it LEGAL to smoke something that's NOT Cancer causing, but then Japan Tobacco would flip out.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Im ok with people smoking in public as long as they don't exhale any of the smoke

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Next step is to ban and make it illegal to have cigarettes and get them off every shelf in the store as people learn to become smoke free.

Right... because alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and the ongoing war on drugs are wildly effective, don't have more cons than pros, and aren't a colossal waste of taxpayer money. /s

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As for me, a smoker, only a little remark here.... If they would have fought against atomic bombs or let’s say also the new coronavirus with the same hate and intensity as they do against us smokers, no bombs or viruses at all would have occurred or still exist. With other words, you go out here for the wrong ‘enemies’, all you totally crazy people!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I don't like people smoking around me myself, but the Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world. Maybe all those people complaining about the smoking habits in Japan should have a closer look on their own eating habits and maybe those of the countries they come from. Obesness is at least as problematic as smoking.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Cleo couldn't be more right. If in 2020, with all that we know about its consequences on your health, you start smoking, you truly are an idiot.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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