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Japan needs anti-smoking law ahead of Tokyo Olympics: WHO

55 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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@NoSensei

People follow here old unwritten laws rather than newly written laws

Until recently the "old unwritten law" was that nicotine addicts could light up anywhere, anytime and to hell with anyone else. When I first came to Japan in the early 70s, they were debating whether or not long-distance trains should have one non-smoking carriage. And when they finally took that step, you couldn't get a non-smoking seat because of overwhelming demand from the vast majority of Japanese nonsmokers.

The "unwritten law" demanded indulgence of the bad behavior of aging adolescents.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't understand why people are crying out loud here. Most of restaurants have different placing / room for smoking customers. And I don't see people smoking in public places, there are exception some times. People follow here old unwritten laws rather than newly written laws, and in case of smoking as per I have experienced it is not how people are crying here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Steppenwolf323 "I truly believe that Smoking in not as harmful as the liberals say it is. faux science!

Well I have to admire someone who's willing to risk his life for a belief, even something as stupid as smoking. However, you have no right to include others in your nicotine roulette game. Smoke is almost impossible to contain. It spreads through apartment buildings and leaves harmful particle on fabrics that can be stirred up and inhaled later during cleaning.

If you want to smoke without fear of harming others, you'd better go and do it on the moon.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't know why others want me to give up my habits for them.

No-one's asking you to give your habits. Just don't do it around those who don't want practice that habit. Really, it's common courtesy.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I thought Japan was a bad place for secondhand smoke and inconsiderate nicotine junkies. Then I visited Vienna, capital of Ashtray, where the streets reek and the ground is covered with butts. Even Paris and Rome are cleaner, and Tokyo is way better.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Might I remind the anti-smoking fanfics here of a couple of quotes: Temperate temperance is best. Intemperate temperance injures the cause of temperance, while temperate temperance helps it in its fight against intemperate intemperance. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky.

Mark Twain's Notebook, 1896

It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.

Mark Twain's Notebook

I don't know why others want me to give up my habits for them. I truly believe that Smoking in not as harmful as the liberals say it is. faux science!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Without a public education program there isn't much chance of any acceptance (zero chance of that) of a ban. Also, why would most politicians endorse a ban here when they are most likely smokers themselves?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Come on, what happened in other countries where they enforced a smoking ban? Did the economy go bust? No. Just too much fear everywhere... It's not that hard to go outside and smoke because at the end of the day smokers are pushing their unhealthy habits onto others.

Oh, and any person who thinks that smoking does not cause health problems has something seriously wrong with them...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So people will have to put up with smoking in restaurants and bars - just like now. I barely want to go out because I don't want my clothes smelling of smoke. Stinky choking country should get its act together. I recommend don't bring your family here for Olympic games as they will be consumed by Aso's cloud of cancer. The little troll is the gift that keeps on giving.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Was banning cigarette smoking a pre-requisite for the Olympic games to be awarded to Tokyo, Japan? No, I thought not.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

JT is the 5th biggest business in Japan and has amakuradi ties at the highest levels.

You are fooled by the name. JT has been changing it's stripes, as it knows the writing is on the wall with regards to cigs.

Go take a look at the JT of today. You might be surprised. JT will survive very well without cigs.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Does anyone think that the fact that the Japanese government, which still owns one-third of the shares of JT (Japan Tobacco), which it used to run as a monopoly, has anything to do with its reluctance to ban smoking? No, of course nobody would ever suspect Japanese politicians of pandering to purely financial gain at the expense of the health of its citizens!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

hopefully Japan Tobacco will nip this soon

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

why not denote smokers as "terrorists" who are plotting to kill people with their second-hand smoke?

Scrote, make a small incendiary device disguised like a pack of smokes (but made not to go off). Place it in a public place. Call it in. Boom! Cigarette packs banned!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The link to the Olympics is utterly irrelevant, but Japan is well behind in introducing smoking bans in public places.

I question why the 15000 victims of passive smoking are mainly women and children. Are men more resistant or is it because they are more likely to be non-smokers living in a house with a heavy smoker? The latter I expect,and it suggests that the risks are greatest in the family home.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Wildwest

Agree with you on the nanny state danger. Australia has become a giant one I hear.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

that is silly, you do not need to conform to the rest of the world just to host a 2 week event. total garbage and I am anti-smoking

1 ( +5 / -4 )

In Japan, about 15,000 people — mainly women and children — die per year from secondhand smoke, according to government and WHO estimates.

Smokers are terrorists. So far NK has killed no one in Japan but they are in the news everyday as a huge threat, smokers kill people everyday and get away with it. Reason, people like Aso who have their smoky heads up their hind quarters. California banned smoking indoors twenty years ago plus and raised taxes on tobacco, result lung cancer rates plummeted. Economy boomed.

Smokers have no right to smoke while others are around them. None. As terrorists they need to be isolated and controlled like in Guantanamo. They also should be forced to clean up around stations where there are thousands of their used cancer sticks everywhere. Such incredible reprobates they are, the world becomes their ashtray in their nicotine warped addicted minds.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

........vaping and using e-cigs. Japan doesn't even know what those are.

Nonsense, I see them all the time and they certainly don't attract any crowds or comments.

With the exception of yakitori restaurants, bars/pubs and izakaya most restaurants in Japan, certainly where I live, are already no-smoking and have an ashtray outside the front door.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Finance Minister Taro Aso told a recent parliamentary session that tobacco sales provide more than 2 trillion yen ($19 billion) in tax revenues annually and a loss of that income would have a major impact on government finances yet the costs associated with premature deaths and the health system would far exceed any revenue they hope to raise. typical selfish short-sighted politicians, couldn't find their own butts in the dark.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Sometimes I wish you could post pics in the comments (I know it's not possible), but since hte whole smoking ban topic came up a few months ago I've been taking pics of the things you see here all the time; "This Area is No Smoking" labels on the sidewalks along the Misosuji in Osaka, with tobacco buts literally grounded out in them. Taxi drivers illegally parked in front of no parking signs, smoking in front of the no smoking signs beside them, etc. Any law that is passed will be completely ignored, and not enforced because, "Enforcing it and giving penalties would be unpopular!".

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Finance Minister Taro Aso told a recent parliamentary session that tobacco sales provide more than 2 trillion yen ($19 billion) in tax revenues annually and a loss of that income would have a major impact on government finances

In Japan, about 15,000 people — mainly women and children — die per year from secondhand smoke, according to government and WHO estimates.

So basically what Taro is saying is that its ok to kill 15000 Japanese women and children a year for 2 trillion yen. Scumbag.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

A smoker himself, Aso questioned the link between smoking and health problems.

We have a saying back home, "No hay nada peor que un ciego que el que no quiere ver". Which translates to "there's nothing worse than a blind guy who doesn't want to see." My Japanese teacher died last year of cancer in his lungs. Was it because he smoked? I don't know. But the guy was a human chimney.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Comprehensive public smoking bans (ie including ones covering bars, nightclubs etc) have been shown to actually INCREASE customers and sales (certainly in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia). If 30% of a population are smokers & you are worried they might stop coming, you are ignoring the 70% who definitely already aren't going because your establishment is a cancer-inducing stinking hole. All this conjecture here in Japan is for show & is in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Japanese Olympics organizers say smoking will be prohibited in indoor facilities at the Tokyo games.

Oh gee. thanks...

Surveys in Japan on the impact of a smoking ban have had mixed results — one predicts a billion-dollar sales decline in restaurants and bars, while another says more people will choose to dine out if restaurants are smoke-free.

In 2015, the adult smoking rate was 19.3%, 29.7% of Japanese men and 9.7% of Japanese women.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_in_Japan#Prevalence

I'm gonna go with the latter survey...

In Japan, about 15,000 people — mainly women and children — die per year from secondhand smoke, according to government and WHO estimates.

Isn't that around the same number of gun deaths in America?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I hope they never ban it. The world has enough stupid laws already and Japan is one of the few places left where you don't need the government telling people what to do with every little aspect of their lives. As for those moronic graphic images they want placed on cigarette packets, they don't work, they're fake anyway, and the truth is all disease starts in the mind, so it's these very images and warnings that plant the seed of disease. Ironic huh?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Douglas Bettcher, WHO director of non-communicable diseases prevention, said Japanese smoking restrictions are far behind global standards and need to be updated because foreign visitors expect clean air while in Japan.

They need to be updated/implemented because they are archaic and obsolete not because 'foreigners expect clean air'!I wish WHO were as passionate about healthy eating & drinking as they are about anti-smoking laws. Problem is coke and maccas have been $pon$or$ of the Olympics for years. Can't really ask them to promote healthy food and reduce their cups size, portions etc can you. It's westerners right to 'nurture' their type 2 diabetes in a smoke-free environment after all.

As a non smoker, I do want Japan to tackle smoking-related diseases but I want them to do so on their own terms, for J ppl's sake not because IOC corrupt bozos and their disciples said so.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No, it needs it now! It needed it years ago!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

We used to have all the professors smoking during our faculty meetings. Then it was banned from the room itself and anyone wanting to smoke had to go and do it in the corridor or outside. Gradually they all forgot that smoking had ever taken place in there, and thus did change take place, even in Japan.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

zichi,

Which ban started in 2011? From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_smoking_bans#Ireland it mentions 1988, 2004 and 2009.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Zichi - Just do the same as Ireland the first country to ban smoking from enclosed public or work place. Pubs, restaurants, places of employment. Ban started in 2011.

Um, I think you'll find Australia was the first country to do this around 15 years ago.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I know: why not denote smokers as "terrorists" who are plotting to kill people with their second-hand smoke? That way Abe will be super-keen to get a ban in place. Unless, of course, his anti-terror bill is all about snooping on the public and nothing to do with "terrorism" at all.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Just do the same as Ireland the first country to ban smoking from enclosed public or work place. Pubs, restaurants, places of employment. Ban started in 2011.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Dear's welcome this is decided but chain smoker's dosn't desist' imme'diate enter olympic smoking prohibited area,arrange'ment separa'tion best of smoking area for the chain smoker's

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan is already 10-15 years behind the world in terms of smoking laws, regulations, enforcment. What in the world are they going to do when millions of people come from overseas vaping and using e-cigs. Japan doesn't even know what those are. The U.K. And USA are already passing laws were you can and can not vape. Japanese heads will explode when they see people vaping and have ZERO clue what it is.

I vape VERY occasionally. I made the mistake of doing it Osaka public once. I had a fricking crowd look at me like I was a theee headed alien. Absolutely no one had any idea what was going on. First and last time I ever vaped in pubic. Come the olympics, I can promise you I won't be the last. I since gave it up, just a fad I was curious about.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

no we dont, we should infact reverse then ban and encourage smoking everywhere!

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Never happen. JT is the 5th biggest business in Japan and has amakuradi ties at the highest levels. Coffee and tabacco is the salarymans breakfast.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Tokyo can travel into the future today by looking at cities around the world that implemented smoking bans (in the 1990's!!!!) and see how they are doing. The economic losses never materialized. The only thing to fear is fear itself. The only thing to gain is economic and personal health.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Just wait until after the Olympics. Then we'll see how serious they are about all of this. "2021 Olympics? What Olympics? Smoking ban? What smoking ban?" Wait and see.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Morons. Japan already has anti-smoking laws. It was one of the biggest issues of Yoko Komiyama's tenure as the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare. That and women's worker's rights.

These things were tackled in 2012 and laws established. They've been ignored and unenforced, just as the laws regarding excessive overtime work and unpaid overtime work were.

Enforce the existing laws instead of making a spiderweb of new ones.

These Olympics are being used as an excuse to introduce all kinds of bogus legislation. Reminds me of the years leading up to the 30's Olympics in Berlin. Similar leaders, similar strategies to sneak in anti-democratic laws under the guise of security and health, blah blah.

The existing laws are good enough. Every time these kinds of new laws get put on the table some fascist tacks on waivers including laws that erode the freedoms of the general public.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I don't think these guys have a clue about how Japan works. Abe and Co could pass a law banning smoking tomorrow and immediately after go light a smoke in a prohibited area and nothing would be done about it.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

paulinusa: 15,000 people — mainly women and children dying per year from second hand smoke is not rubbish

Thank you doctor.

It is rubbish to try to force Japan to do something of this scale for the sake of 2 weeks. So doc, tell me this, how many women and children will die after 2 weeks in Japan during the Olympics?

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

because foreign visitors expect clean air while in Japan

Say what? Is there another Japan somewhere that I don't know about? Or, does this mean they have to close every factory and power plant and not drive cars while the Olympics are on? Gees! That's gonna hurt the economy! While it is true that Japan does need to update its anti-smoking laws, this joker needs to cut back on the dose of himself he has with his morning coffee!

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

I smoke but do not drink. I do not smoke in public places. I hate breath of drinkers as much as people hate smokers. Drinking should be banned at public places - at all stadiums.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

I went to a traditional, cheap izakaya the other day for the first time in ages. While it was a great experience, my lungs and throat suffered for the next day. I feel sorry for the people who have to work there every day. For their sake, it should be banned.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

Utter rubbish. Ban smoking just because of a 2 week event, makes no sense at all.

15,000 people — mainly women and children dying per year from second hand smoke is not rubbish. And some other comments here about other issues being a priority is a false equivalent.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

watch for Japan to play the "but its our culture and you dont understand" card on this one...

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Utter rubbish. Ban smoking just because of a 2 week event, makes no sense at all.

-7 ( +12 / -19 )

As much as it is for the greater good, its sad to see a nation being forced to conform to The Nanny State ideology. The more control people are subjected to the less they become responsible for their own actions. Japanese people on the whole seem to be responsible citizens conforming needs and desires rather than endless over regulation that has buried nations in legislation.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Restaurant's and bars actually got busier in Vancouver after they banned smoking. It's nice you can go home and not stink of smoke.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Leaving aside my views on the Olympics, this is a great excuse for Japan to finally get on the ball with this issue and join the other advanced developed countries.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Japan needs laws 101: Into the Civilized Society. Maybe Olympics will trigger the much needed chain for society' "humanisation".

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

I'm against the Olympics. But some positive things might come out of it.

"one (survey) predicts a billion-dollar sales decline in restaurants and bars"

Surveys done in the past in Europe, Canada and elsewhere made the same predictions. They were wrong.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

I agree with efforts to diminish public smoking. However it seems like an inordinate amount of issues are being used tandemly with the olympics as so-called "necessary measures" to push through a political agenda. In any case, I don't see the Olympics as the correct bar to measure whether we should have new laws, securities laws, or giant magnet trains. We could give people from Fukushima a house someplace since there's all these empty apartments everywhere. How about that? BY THE OLYMPICS!

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Olympics or not, get it done!

What the hell is going to happen AFTER the Olympics? What excuses are they going to come up with for social and health issues?

6 ( +12 / -6 )

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