Have Japan’s anti-smoking laws gone too far?

Have Japan’s anti-smoking laws gone too far?

TOKYO —

In recent years there has been a dramatic change in attitudes towards smoking in public places in Japan. While it was a common sight to see someone walking along the street with a cigarette in their hand until a few years ago, nowadays it is becoming increasingly rare to see. It is fair to say that smokers have adopted a much politer approach to smoking in public. The movement towards a smoke-free environment is one welcomed by many, however accompanied by this is the tendency to drive smokers into corners and ostracize them for lighting up. Anti-smokers are increasingly pushing forward their demands, seeing a pollution-free environment as part of their right to a healthy lifestyle. But is it going too far?

There was an incident in Japan last year involving a male smoker and his neighbor. As part of his daily routine, the man would often go out on the balcony for a cigarette. The woman living above however, claimed that the smoke fumes created so much stress that it affected her both mental and physically. In December 2012, the woman filed a case against her neighbor at Nagoya District Court, claiming that by not considering the effects of his behavior on those around him, the man was breaching the law. The jury ruled that the man was liable to pay 50,000 yen of reparations for inflicting mental anguish. However, any connection between the deterioration in the woman’s health as exposure to cigarette smoke was denied. Nevertheless, the case undoubtedly had implications for many of Japan’s smokers.

Complaints from non-smokers have even been made about designated smoking areas in parks and stations, in some cases resulting in their removal. The increasing tendency to treat smokers with contempt, almost as though they were criminals is becoming undeniably apparent, but what exactly is fueling this vehement anti-smoking movement?

Moriyo Kimura, a doctor and also Technical official for the Ministry of Health and Welfare sheds some light on the possible cause.

“Since the Democratic Party came into power, there has been a strong tendency for the Japanese government to place emphasis on anti-smoking measures. The reason being that Yoko Komiyama, one of the most anti-smoking members of parliament, was elected Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare. Admittedly, smoking restrictions are being implemented worldwide on a daily basis and there is concrete scientific evidence to suggests smoking is hazardous to one’s health. However it is peculiar is that smoking should rank so highly among the numerous social problems that await resolve.”

Even without further smoking countermeasures from the government, thanks to the recent increase in designated smoking areas, passive smoking is expected to become increasingly less of a problem. Even so, the Japanese government is pushing anti-smoking in a way that for many restricts individuals’ freedom, with some suggesting that laws should not be influenced by individual government members’ own pet hates.

Source: Nikkan Spa

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RocketNews24

  • 22

    Tamarama

    No, but common sense must prevail. I thought about the story of the woman living above the man and initially thought it ridiculous because the guy has a right to smoke in his own space. However, the problem with smoking is that the smoke doesn't confine itself to 'your' space' and the woman equally has a right to live in a smoke free environment in her home - he is effectively polluting her space, which he does't have a right to do. It's a private extension of the public space debate that has led to these kinds of laws in the first place.

  • 33

    Okinawamike

    Have Japan’s anti-smoking laws gone too far?

    Not possible.

  • 18

    some14some

    More needs to be done to make anti-smoking laws more effective.

  • 26

    bass4funk

    @Tamarama

    I couldn't agree more. Nowadays, many of the newer mall have restaurants and coffee segregated sections that are completely isolated and are sealed off, so the smoke stays in the confined area where it belongs. What I always thought was offensive in Japan about smokers is that when you are sitting with a child and a smoker sits next to you and lights up, without asking you if it is ok or take any consideration of the kids that are sitting next to them. I don't want to squash the rights of smokers, if they want to puff themselves away into oblivion, then do it AWAY from people that don't want it near them. I personally don't think these laws go far enough. I too, have the right to breath.

  • 8

    papigiulio

    The more pressure, the better. If the could bann smoking in nightclubs, bats and izakaya i would be very happy

  • 15

    KariHaruka

    There's only 2 things that bother me when smokers are in my proximity. If I'm in a restaurant having a meal the last thing I want is the stench of smoke polluting the air around my food. But the second one is the one that will anger me the most. When someone lights up a cigarette right in front of my young daughters. If you want to risk your health go right ahead. But DON'T risk the health of my daughters from passive smoking. Do this and you will have me and/or my fiancee going ballistic.

  • 3

    Matthew Simon

    The jury ruled that the man was liable to pay 50,000 yen of reparations for inflicting mental anguish.

    So Japan is becoming more like America with their civil suits? Honestly if he wasn't breaking the law by smoking on his balcony There is no reason he should be able to be forced to pay anything.

  • 13

    NZ2011

    Gone too far? Is article is a bit late for April Fools..

    Not nearly enough has been done, it will change and I hope sooner rather than later.

    People talk about freedom so often but seem to have no idea that freedom in a society of other humans requires respect and responsibility. While I would never ban smoking outright it shouldn't be around children or in anyone's (including bars and restaurants etc ) workplace, only in designated areas.

    Smoking has been proven again and again to be harmful to health, development of children and, additionally, to not put a too finer point on it.. stinks..

    Time to bring this particular area of Japanese law in line with basically every other developed nation on this planet.

  • -10

    Eduardo Gonzalez

    Keep it as it is, at least we have the biggest lifespans on this planet

  • 8

    Hiroicci

    What? Japan is doing too much on this issue, you're saying, Japan Today? If anything, not enough has been done. Japan hasn't introduced ban on smoking in public places yet and its ciggie tax is still low by international standards.

    True, Kimura san was an anti-smoking minister, but, remember, Noda san was a puff loving PM, so, unfortunately, there was a limit to which the gov's anti-smoking push could go.

  • 9

    cleo

    the guy has a right to smoke in his own space

    Except that instead of doing that, he tried to keep his 'own' space smoke-free, by going out on the balcony. So he didn't want to stink out his own home (maybe he had kids, or a non-smoking wife?) and chose instead to stink out his neighbours. Typical smoker I'm all right Jack attitude.

    when you are sitting with a child and a smoker sits next to you and lights up, without asking you if it is ok

    If they had the sense to ask if it was OK, they would presumably have the sense to know that it wasn't.

  • 1

    Meguroman

    The situation has improved over the years here. When I was a JET many years ago, teachers (almost every male teacher) smoked in the teachers` room and students emptied the ashtrays. I was flabbergasted. How about banning smoking in bars and restaurants here? Even Hong Kong did it and though some will still light up in big clubs, it is fantastic to be able to go into places there and not have your clothes stink like an ashtray. If smokers want to waste their own money and risk their own health, dozo. But purezu do not spark up and ruin my dinner and have my kids breath your vile smoke.

  • 3

    ka_chan

    I'm confused, didn't the LDP win the last elections? The problem is more related to the income that government get from tobacco since it's a government industry even if the stakes have been reduced to 50%. Have you ever been in a smoking car. It's ridiculous, even a gas mask won't help. You need to be in some level 5 protective suit. Smoking laws gone too far in Japan, that funny. As for the ruling, it didn't go far enough since there are health effects. Killing yourself is on thing but killing your neighbor?

  • 1

    Raymond Mccormack

    I live in a city that has no smoking in public or work places. Even if said work place generates more carcinogens then smoking. I believe you can not smoke within 50ft of an entrance to any building. Not sure of the distance. I voted to allow all of this.

    With that being said. I am not sure I agree that the woman should have been awarded any damages. I can not force my neighbor to run is super polluting old truck that stinks up the whole block. I close my windows and wait for him to be done. I can tell you he is a lot longer then a 15 min smoke, when hes out revving the thing to death.

  • 13

    Neil McDonald

    Was this article sponsored by JT? Japan has some incredibly lax smoking laws compared to the EU, Australia and most US states. Cigarette are very cheap and heavily advertised here too.

  • 4

    Moonraker

    As someone who likes the occasional smoke with a beer I would say it was pretty liberal in Japan, compared to where I am currently, in Australia. Here I feel like it is a case of, they came for the smokers and no one did anything so next it was the drinkers until finally we are all enslaved. Meanwhile cars and furniture and carpets pollute with abandon. It feels like a system based on exploitation and pollution of the environment needs to have a sacrifice to the gods and that is the smokers right now. Though I admit, there are some pretty thoughtless smokers around in Japan.

  • -5

    Wakarimasen

    Yes. he fact is that people who are anti are most often way more fanatical than those who are for it. this leads to a gradual banning of all vices/pleasures. Just wanyt to be left alone to enjoy a drink and smoke.

  • 7

    Probie

    I wish they would ban smoking altogether and make tobacco illegal.

    I hate it when someone decides that they must have a cigarette straight after leaving the train station, and I'm walking behind them and have to deal with their smoke. It's disgusting.

  • 5

    ebisen

    I fully understand the woman's complaint against someone smoking under her balcony. I was forced to live like this for a while, and it made my daily mornings miserable. The stench coming from my opened windows instead of the fresh morning air was unbearable.

  • 0

    ebisen

    Wakarimasen:

    Just wanyt to be left alone to enjoy a drink and smoke.

    Please, kill yourself as you feel like, it's your rights to do so, but make sure not a single whiff of stench comes my way in the process. It's my right to enjoy clean air.

  • 2

    JoshuYaki

    Whenever I smell smokelogged rooms or even just fresh cigarette smoke I think of Japan. Poor Japan has to do a 90 degree turn on the tobacco giants and become anti-smoking. Not just aware. It's known that the Tobacco giants have focused on Asia as their target market for profit.

  • 7

    JA_Cruise

    Over the past 20 years, Japan has come along ways from over 60 percent of workers smoking right at the desk, at meeting rooms, and in toilets, etc. And I applaud Japan for finally taking some action. But I do find that many smokers do not obey the signs, especially the ones on the street or in the shopping arcades where it is crowded and many kids walk. But this anti-smoking campaign is a good thing, I cannot think of one good thing that comes from smoking a cigarette.

  • 5

    kimuzukashiiiii

    As a former smoker (and now a non-smoker, after getting pregnant having a child) I think I can see both sides of it.

    For Adults - they should be entitled to smoke in bars, clubs and izakayas at night. Those places are night spots, which, in my opinion, are unsuitable for children. Sometimes kids go, but In my personal opinion, they should not really be there after about 7 or 8 o clock. I think that the whole idea of "No smoking times" is a good idea, I've seen this around too.

    Restaurants .... case by case but as a ex smoker it really bugs me having to smell smoke when I am eating.

    One thing that I have noticed is NOT working is the "no smoking zones" in cafes/restaurants etc. It comes down to the whole "customer is god" thing - if a customer starts smoking in a "no smoking zone" Ive seen staff simply hand them an ashtray. Usually they are kind of separate, in a different room (eg mos burger and macdonalds) but also sometimes the "smoking zone" is nothing more than a sticker on a table despite being in an open plan area... this has absolutely no meaning, in my opinion.

    One of my pet peeves is people smoking around kids. I absolutely hate it. HOWEVER at the same time, I really wonder ... If Im living in a city in the middle of Japan, with all that gross pollution blowing over from China which we are all breathing in day in and day out, is one ojisan at the next table having a cheeky cigarette after work really going to make much difference to the health of myself, or my daughter? I highly suspect not, but I will keep a smoke free home, and continue to choose "no smoking" seats and restaurants when we eat out anyways. Failing that, I may move to hokkaido.

  • 8

    Maitake

    japan's WHAT!?!?!?????? I never heard of such a thing. japan having anti-smoking laws is like the having no-pooping-laws in the woods for bears. Ever gone to a restaurant in japan?? a bar???

  • 2

    malfupete

    I've been to a few restaurants that still allow smoking inside, needless to say I've never been back. Sure, its their right to smoke, but its also my right not to breathe in the damn stuff!

  • -8

    Kakukakushikajika

    Please, kill yourself as you feel like, it's your rights to do so, but make sure not a single whiff of stench comes my way in the process. It's my right to enjoy clean air.

    You probably do not live in Tokyo, if so please let me know where you've found clean air.

  • -5

    Wakarimasen

    Probie I wish they would ban smoking altogether and make tobacco illegal

    Yes, because this approach works so well with drugs. and Prohibition was such a roaring success. Smoking has been around for long time and I just don't get why smokers can't be left alone. sure, they should be considerate of otthers, but seems most anti-smokers will never be satisfied and just cannot live and let live.

  • -8

    Wakarimasen

    ebisen You are joking surely. Clean air in Japan? Where do you live? I wager there are many more pollutants from cars and factories and so on than from a whiff of tobacco smoke. Yes, I want to be free to kill myself. and drink my self to death. and, if i so choose, take the occasional illegal substance. We all die one day anyway. Rather die happy and young than as some old embittered person, clinging on to life and continually carping aboutothers' behavious and interfering in their freedoms.

  • 2

    FizzBit

    In December 2012, the woman filed a case against her neighbor at Nagoya District Court, claiming that by not considering the effects of his behavior on those around him

    Does this mean I can file a case against those idiot yankee motorcyclists and those friggin cars with the loud woofers in them?

  • -3

    AKBfan

    i think generally smokers are quite considerate (Japan may be slightly exceptional on this) as they have suffered years of being ostrascised and of increasing controls being imposed over where and when they can smoke.

  • -1

    Ayler

    It is fair to say that smokers have adopted a much politer approach to smoking in public.

    Quite unfair to say so. The majority of smokers lack the sense or manners to consider other people. I walk through a no smoking station zone every day and every day see several people smoking whilst standing on top of the huge no smoking signs, oblivious to anyone around them. Everytime I exit a train station someone will start smoking as soon as they pass the ticket gate. Most restaurants still permit smoking. Smokers don't deserve freedom on this, clearly doesn't work. The requisites for smoking are stupidity, selfishness and weakness, how can we expect them to stop or be considerate? Most of them want to quit, their family, friends and fellow citizens want them to quit. Freedom to smoke...pfffft.

  • 1

    CH3CHO

    Tamarama the smoke doesn't confine itself to 'your' space'

    I do not think it so simple. How about cars?

  • 7

    afanofjapan

    To all the defiant smokers: How would you feel if i decided to let rip some big smelly farts right next to you in a restaurant? In a nightclub? Izakaya? And not just one, but all of my friends, and most of the people in the restaurant started doing it? And not just a 5 second fart either. One that lasts 5 minutes, and the smell lingers even longer after that.

    Yep, thats EXACTLY what its like. It stinks. It ruins our enjoyment of meals. It makes our clothes smell (ok, well the smell of farts does tend to go away, but smoke doesnt). AANDD for the person emitting the gas, it is one of their personal freedoms, right? If they dont fart, they will feel uncomfortable, and hey, its not like it even affects your health!

    Im not even too concerned about the health risks, i do enough risky stuff for a bit of secondhand smoke to make a big effect. For kids, definitely, but for me all i care about is the fact that you are purposely polluting my nostrils with your stench.

    So to answer the question: No, nowhere NEAR enough is being done. most Japanese people dont think its rude to light up in front of others at a dinner, where friends back home would go outside to satisfy their cravings, just like i might go to the toilet to let out a big ripper. But i dont think it is something that should be done with laws. I believe there needs to be as much "manner" advertising as they do for trains and phone use - It would solve the problem here (rather than laws)

  • 1

    Probie

    Adults - they should be entitled to smoke in bars, clubs and izakayas at night. Those places are night spots, which, in my opinion, are unsuitable for children.

    No, they shouldn't "be entitled to smoke in bars, clubs and izakayas at night", why should smokers be "entitled" to force their smoke on other people who don't want it?!?

    Probie I wish they would ban smoking altogether and make tobacco illegal

    Yes, because this approach works so well with drugs. and Prohibition was such a roaring success.

    Stupid arguement.

    Smoking has been around for long time and I just don't get why smokers can't be left alone.

    Because they don't leave other people alone because of their smoke.

    sure, they should be considerate of otthers, but seems most anti-smokers will never be satisfied and just cannot live and let live.

    Because second hand smoke shouldn't be forced on someone. If me and you were drinking in the same bar, and I started throwing beer at you, you'd be annoyed, right? That's what smokers do with their smoke.

  • -1

    AKBfan

    Seems we are not just alking about smoking in bars. Many on the thread are against smokers lighting up outside or in their own apartments. That seems to me to be symptomatic of anti smokers wanting to force theirm ow views on smokers.

  • 7

    Get Real

    Latest JT surveys show that just over 20% of the adult population smokes.

    And we're still accommodating this selfish minority in restaurants, cafes and bars?

  • -9

    Wakarimasen

    Hmmmmm.. Stupid argument just because you don't agree? Why exactly is a total ban the way to deal with this and to allow you the "freedom" to breathe "pure air" and not to "stink of smoke"? I don't smokers ar4e "forcing" their secondhand smoke on anyone. It is a consequence of their choice to smoke, sure. But so are a exhaust fumes a consequence of traffice, industrail fumes a consequence of factories, dog popp a consequence of dogs, little a consequence of modern packaging etc etc. We don't ban all those things, do we? Fact is there is a moral element to non-smokers' outrage, hence good comprison to drugs and alcohol. Surely a try at better control and enforcement of non-smoking zones and the like is worth a try before just outtright banning smoking?

  • 0

    bgaudry

    LOL, always devolves into this.

    I really look down on smokers. Paying to damage your health, how stupid are you? Same goes for fat people. Hard to look at a smoker or an obese person and take them seriously. Your life is so bad that you are actively trying to shave a few years off it?

  • 1

    all4faj

    I guess if you go to an Izakaya and bar and they allow smoking you can always not go there again and go to ones that don't allow smoking. Tolerance works both ways.

  • 3

    Alphaape

    If smoking is legally sanctioned, why try to ban the use of it. Let the market decide in cases of bars and resturants. Case in point, a casino in NJ was billed as the "second comming" and would rival the older ones in Atlantic city and bring in new revenues. It has gone into bankruptcy after two years, while the older ones haven't. One of the main reasons was because it was a "smoke free" casino. People chose to go where they could smoke. Give the people who want to smoke that option.

    I recently had to take a Drug free workplace training lecture. It mentions that for one to pop positive on a urine test for marijuana, one would have to be in an enclosed room for a long period and more than one joint in the room. My point is, if that is the case, then why is second hand smoke such a major concern. It seems reefer smoke is good, tobacco is bad.

    I'm not a smoker, and it can be annoying and I don't want excessive smoke around my kids. But it comes to a point where you can't just regulate everything. I am fine with smoking places. If they are smoking, I don't have to go into them, and people should understand that.

  • 1

    Masterking Rasta

    Why all the damn fuss, its simple, stop producing cigarettes, tell that to the JT and American tobacco masters. Likewise tell them to construct area`s for people who do smoke. Stop blaming the smokers.

  • 1

    TokyoGas

    I am a non-smoker and a little bit of smoke does not bother me. If I go to a bar and people are smoking, I don't care. If their is too much smoke, I go elsewhere.

  • 0

    bruinfan

    @Wakarimase

    Yes. he fact is that people who are anti are most often way more fanatical than those who are for it.

    Nice strawmen. Yes there are those who are fanatic, but they a small yet vocal minority. Most people simply think (whether the say it or not) could you "please smoke somewhere else".

  • 3

    Moonraker

    Hey everyone, life kills!

    Let's live and let live. Smokers might wanna think about being a lot more considerate and non-smokers might wanna thnk about being a tad less sanctimonious. The Earth is being reduced to a bare rock right now if you need a cause.

  • 1

    CGB Spender

    Another bad trend Japan is copying from the US.

  • -2

    PeaceWarrior

    In my own case, the worst is usually when some ojii san comes and sits right beside me when I am exercising at the park and just lights up without a care in the world. I've had that happen to me several times and after asking them politely to stop, they usually go somewhere else, or put it out without making a fuss. They've got this huge park almost to themselves, and they come and sit beside the jumping foreigner, I guess I am more entertaining than a TV set.

  • 8

    Wakarimasen

    bruin

    Happy to smoke somewhere else if space provided

  • 5

    Wakarimasen

    and want to smoke in my own home without being harassed

  • 0

    Tokiyo

    Well people tend to think they are too good for smoking corner so they smoke outside them. And by all means, smoke in your house all you want - Just don't do it on the balcony where the stench leeches into everything.

  • -1

    Fredster

    Well I too could jump on my soapbox about smoking in Japan - suffice to say I encounter smoking "situations" on a daily basis that I find displeasing (understatement)...

    However - the thing that absolutely freaks me out the most - is when I see the young mother &/or father take their young child or infant into that "Cancer Ward / Fishbowl Room" ( you know: those glassed in smoking aquariums that you don't even need to light-up in to get a nicotine fix ) at places like Mos Burger because they want to smoke...

    My personal opinion is that those parents should be arrested for child endangerment

    Smoking around your kids and subjecting them to second hand smoke is bad enough but taking them into those rooms is the equivalent to sticking a needle in your child's arm just because you are a junkie...

  • -2

    Jaymann

    If we go down the path of suing to gain compensation for the alleged affects of a negative externality - then we set legal precedent to charge for the affects of a positive externality. That is VERY dangerous ground.

  • -1

    Jaymann

    As for those who propose full prohibition of tobacco -- perhaps casting your eyes back to the era of alcohol prohibition or the present* utter failure* of the *disastrous *narcotics prohibition should give you pause.

  • -1

    Jimizo

    I've heard some restaurant owners in Japan say that a smoking ban would lose them business but many don't like to have a beer or a meal in a smoke-filled room. I remember many in the UK believing the smoking ban would adversely affect the business of pubs in particular ( the data hardly backed that up - pubs were losing business before the ban came into effect ). Many of my friends who smoke often drink in a non-smoking English pub in Tokyo and go outside. I don't want to turn smokers into outcasts but they shouldn't be smoking in restaurants, bars and izakaya. A smoking area outside is the best solution, or if that isn't possible, sorry, go elsewhere.

  • 1

    Onniyama

    While I must say that I enjoy being in a smoke free environment and that I agree smoking is not good for you, I have to agree with others here that other forms of pollution need as much attention as tobacco smoke. Some years back my father was at a trade show in Toronto. In the hotel he was staying at, there was a seminar about the affects of tobacco smoke on the lungs. The people running it asked for volunteers from the audience. My father, who enjoys hamming it up a bit, volunteered himself and a coworker. They both blew into a machine that analyzed lung functioning etc. Result? My dad smoked at the time and blew relatively clean. His coworker, a non-smoker, tested much worse than my father. The guy running the experiment boldly announced that the coworker must be a smoker. Of course he was wrong. The difference was the coworker had gone walking around the city that day while my dad had stayed in the hotel. Needless to say, my father had a grand time rubbing this in. Point is, there are many forms of pollution affecting us. Smoking, at its current state, is rather minor.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    I'm pretty anti-smoking, but I think the case about the woman suing her neighbour is a little bit crazy. I mean, you can COMPLETELY argue that cigarette smoke does not stay in 'your space' and affects those around you, but the judge through out the idea that it could have contributed to the woman's deterioration in health. So what's the point?

    And no, Japan's smoking laws are not going overboard at all, nor is the level of smokers decreasing, on the street or otherwise. Go to any intersection with signal lights that doesn't have a senior voluntarily picking up garbage with tongs and count the butts on the ground.

  • -2

    Ranger_Miffy2

    Great discussion points here. I sometimes wonder if the pro-smokers are the same people as the pro-whalers? Both disrespect life and are completely self-serving in their "reasons".

    Something that would really help would be all public places (izakaya, bars, restaurants) to have a sticker highly visible on their door indicating if they were a "Smoking Allowed" (even a little corner somewhere qualifies...do you hear me Dotours?) and "Smoking Prohibited". Would really help me and everyone else know which doors to walk in!

  • 1

    therougou

    For Adults - they should be entitled to smoke in bars, clubs and izakayas at night. Those places are night spots, which, in my opinion, are unsuitable for children. Sometimes kids go, but In my personal opinion, they should not really be there after about 7 or 8 o clock. I think that the whole idea of "No smoking times" is a good idea, I've seen this around too.

    No, I don't want to be around smoking, regardless of whether my child is also present. I don't know the chances of me getting sick from second-hand smoke, but I know for sure it makes my hair and clothes stink, and that is annoying in itself.

  • -3

    Wakarimasen

    1 Good| Bad JimizoApr. 02, 2013 - 12:41PM JST

    I've heard some restaurant owners in Japan say that a smoking ban would lose them business but many don't like to have a beer or a meal in a smoke-filled room. I remember many in the UK believing the smoking ban would adversely affect the business of pubs in particular ( the data hardly backed that up - pubs were losing business before the ban came into effect

    Nonsense - all the data show that pubs and other entertainment venues have experienced loss of business. Admittedly smoking has also continued to decrease, but that was also happening before the smoking ban.

  • 1

    AKBfan

    How about a "2 state solution" like in the Middle East? Smokers and non-smokers have totally segrated spaces and can then choose which one they want to live/work/play in? Seems like the only way to get some agreement on this.

  • 0

    dcog9065

    I'm a smoker and I would agree that anti-smoking law isn't as restrictive in Tokyo as it is in my native Sydney. Cigarettes are cheap, ubiquitous and able to be smoked almost anywhere, including inside buildings.

    As a smoker I would dislike any infringements on my freedom to enjoy a cigarette, however I understand the concerns non-smokers have as well, particularly regarding second-hand smoke.

    The key is proper ventilation for smoking-designated areas in restaurants and bars. Many places already do have proper ventilation, examples including chain izakayas and most yakinikus.

  • 1

    TumbleDry

    I didn't know that restaurants and bars were forced to let smokers in. Give me a break. Ban it on side walks, fine. Ban it in trains, platform. Fine again. I'm all for it. Restaurants and bars should have the right to decide if they want to be strictly non-smoking or not. Many restaurants already are non-smoking. Grow up and stop whining.

  • -4

    Probie

    @wakarimasen

    Hmmmmm.. Stupid argument just because you don't agree?

    No. It's a stupid arguement because prohibition wasn't introduced because of health concerns. It was a moral thing.

    Why exactly is a total ban the way to deal with this and to allow you the "freedom" to breathe "pure air" and not to "stink of smoke"?

    Because smoking doesn't just affect the smoker, and smokers have a habit of not following rules unless they are forced to.

    I don't smokers ar4e "forcing" their secondhand smoke on anyone.

    Yes they are. Whenever the smoke near someone who doesn't want them to.

    It is a consequence of their choice to smoke, sure. But so are a exhaust fumes a consequence of traffice, industrail fumes a consequence of factories, dog popp a consequence of dogs, little a consequence of modern packaging etc etc. We don't ban all those things, do we?

    Are you going to get a soda to drink with all those straws you're cluthing at? Yeah, it's a consequence of their choice to smoke. It's just that why should other people have to live with that consequence?

    Fact is there is a moral element to non-smokers' outrage, hence good comprison to drugs and alcohol.

    There is no moral element. It's a health element. I don't want someone elses smoke in my lungs or in my hair/clothes. It's disgusting.

    Surely a try at better control and enforcement of non-smoking zones and the like is worth a try before just outtright banning smoking?

    The station near where I live has a no smoking area for 500m all around it, but there are still people lighting up as soon as they're out of the station. And it's not just where I live, it's everywhere. You can't enforce at that level, and smokers ignore rules because they need a cigarette whenever they feel the urge for some pathetic reason.

    Either make 1 pack, of 5 cigarettes, 5000yen, or just ban them outright.

  • 2

    JustAGoodOleBoy

    Japan has anti-smoking laws?? really??

  • 2

    bruinfan

    @Wakirimasen

    Fair enough. I actually gave you some thumbs up on two of your comments. I think most (perhaps 70%) of people are happy if there is a true non-smoking area in a cafe or restaurant (not some small corner set up in a smokey room). Tully's and Veloce Cafes often do it best with a completely sealed room for smokers. Just saying that just because Japanese (and other people) don't say "Please don't smoke next to me", doesn't mean that they aren't irritated about it.

  • -5

    Kakukakushikajika

    Great discussion points here. I sometimes wonder if the pro-smokers are the same people as the pro-whalers? Both disrespect life and are completely self-serving in their "reasons".

    I think you forgot to say that "we" (I am a smoker, dirty dirty killing selfish smoker) also are racist, pro death, homophobic, or whatever else... are you out of your mind Ranger_Miffy2 ??? I am shocked from what I read from most anti-smokers... You are a menace to society all of you, what do you want to jail us? Put us in camp? Ban us from cities? Hitler would not have had any better ideology than you guys. Thanks you stressed me up I need a smoke!

  • 1

    motytrah

    More or less this is about money. 80.4% of the health care coverage of paid by the gov't in Japan. There is a vested interest in getting people not to smoke. This is the more or less the same reason counties like France started to curtail smoking.

    They should go for the middle ground. Vaporized smokeless cigarettes. All the nicotine, none of the irritation to the neighbors.

  • -5

    Moonraker

    I gather the average man can smoke 1 or 2 cigs a day and it will have almost no effect on health. Even a pack-a-day man loses only three years on average from his life so I always wonder why some non-smokers seem to believe that if the tiniest whiff of tobacco smoke alights on their dainty nostrils that they need to act like they will lose several years from their lives. There are some who are simply over the top about it. There is practically no health issue involved for the average non-smoker. If it is about the odour then I, even as an occasional smoker, dont need your perfume or senbei on the train or even your hair. Meanwhile, here in Australia, I have to suffer the noxious smell of barbecues of flaming flesh and people believing everyone should hear their favourite music. But we have to be tolerant and considerate in equal measure.

  • 0

    AKBfan

    Probie Your arguments are basically - I don't like smoking so let me force everyone else to stop doing it anywhere near me. You should be a little more tolerant maybe? I do understand that you don't want to smell of smoke or have your life made shorter or whatever your specific concern is, but kind of agree with Wakanai that the way to achieve this is better enforcement and not an outright ban. i like a cigarette sometimes but generally socially and in proper contecxt - I do not "need" to smoke and don't think that having the occasional one makes me "pathetic" or is s ign of a lack of happiness in my life (as some other posters said). Seems to be to be a little bit of live and live here - even if one of us may live a bit shorter.

  • -1

    Tokiyo

    Moonraker

    If you want to talk about odor, Barbeque ok, that will linger but your other examples are ridiculous.

    Hair, Perfume, Senbei odors don't linger and fester in your hair, skin and clothing like tobacco does. That putrid stuff clings to everything making whoever passes through it smell like a chimney sweep. Who has money to pay for suit cleaning everyday because you end up smelling like that after every night?

    No need to be patronizing about it either.

    Happy smoking.

  • -3

    Probie

    Probie Your arguments are basically - I don't like smoking so let me force everyone else to stop doing it anywhere near me.

    Yeah, so? There are a lot of people who think the same as me on this.

    i don't like dogshit but I don't advocate killing all dogs or banning people from owning them in cities.

    I bet you would if that dogshit was being rubbed into your face when you were just walking down the street.

    You should be a little more tolerant maybe?

    Why? Did I make you cry or something?

    I do understand that you don't want to smell of smoke or have your life made shorter or whatever your specific concern is, but kind of agree with Wakanai that the way to achieve this is better enforcement and not an outright ban.

    How far would your ban go? I'd go for smoking in the home is OK, but anywhere else is illegal.

    like a cigarette sometimes but generally socially and in proper contecxt - I do not "need" to smoke and don't think that having the occasional one makes me "pathetic" or is s ign of a lack of happiness in my life (as some other posters said).

    That may be you, but not everyone is the same.

    Seems to be to be a little bit of live and live here - even if one of us may live a bit shorter.

    If it was "live and live", smokers should let the non-smokers live without the stink.

    I have no problem with smokers smoking in private- I'd prefer if it was banned though- but why do they feel the need to do it in public? Their little vice doesn't just affect them, and annoys many people around them.

  • 2

    AKBfan

    Nope, not much on JT makes me cry anymore. Don't have particularly strong feelings on this topic except that it is yet another example of state interference and overregulation which I don't really like. i am not rabidly pro or anti so struggle to understand the vehemence with which people hold views on this topic.

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    Make a pack of cigarettes 10,000 yen, and make littering of cigarette butts a fine of 500,000 yen, and make sure it's enforced. Smoking is a horrible disease, and smokers need to be helped to quit.

  • 1

    afanofjapan

    Comparing exhaust fumes to cigarette smoke. Interesting... If i drive my car to the restaurant, i dont park it next to my table and then point the exhaust tip at other diners.

    And perfume/cologne is actually made to be a pleasant smell for humans. It may not be your favourite smell, but it smells nothing like the stench of cigarette smoke, which is only designed to satisfy nicotine cravings. As a smoker, you probably dont understand, but it is literally one of the worst smells i can think of.

    I have a few American friends who are all getting in on Vaporizers (e-cigs) though, and I hope this spreads worldwide. Little-to-no smell, and they get the nicotine they need. Not sure if the smoke emitted has the same risks as regular secondhand smoke, but if it doesnt smell, i am not too worried.

    • Moderator

      Readers, no more analogies please. The subject is tobacco smoke.

  • 11

    cleo

    i am not rabidly pro or anti so struggle to understand the vehemence with which people hold views on this topic.

    Try losing three family members to smoking and growing up with second-hand-smoke-induced asthma, it does wonders in stoking up the vehemence.

  • -10

    Wakarimasen

    Sorry, was outside having a smoke so missed the rabid responses. i guess i will have to accept that smoking is going the way of other activities that were once mainstream but have succumbed to the moral majority. hopefully they will legalise dope just in time for me to make the move over.

  • -5

    Moonraker

    So, in the end it only comes down to odour. And grades of odour depending on the one doing the smelling. As you may have missed, Tokiyo, I have said twice now that smokers should be much more considerate. I also dislike the smell of stale cigarette smoke on clothes but, hell, hang your clothes out in the wind for a couple of hours and it goes. But the original story is about a woman who is allegedly stressed by tobacco smoke. But for me there are so many totally intolerant non-smokers who start a silly coughing act whenever they smell a hint of smoke and start their proselytising. They remind me of some kind of missionary more than anything, and whereas it was formerly our souls the missionaries would save, now it is our bodies. This anti-smoking crusade seems to satisfy some more primal urge for dominance as much as anything.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Moonraker: "So, in the end it only comes down to odour."

    Ummm... no. It comes down to you giving me cancer through second-hand smoke. The odour is made up of the chemicals that are harmful to the body.

    "This anti-smoking crusade seems to satisfy some more primal urge for dominance as much as anything."

    It's called a crusade to help with health, of yourself and those around you. If you believe your cause is so right, why would you feel dominated?

  • 2

    dcog9065

    @Moonraker : What else is the internet for than for anyone to demonstrate their knowledge of the world through bigoted opinions and limitless self-entitlement?

  • -4

    Moonraker

    @smithinJapan.

    I have no cause to promote smoking. Perhaps you willfully misinterpret my call for more tolerance and consideration on either side of the line to support your crusade. It would not be unusual. The usual "reasoning" seems to be: I don't like it so everyone must stop it. And show me the evidence that mere whiffs of other people's cigars or pipes or cigarettes or joints are abnormally injurious to health.

    Sorry, dcog9065, I don't understand your comment.

  • -5

    Wakarimasen

    Admittedly, smoking restrictions are being implemented worldwide on a daily basis and there is concrete scientific evidence to suggests smoking is hazardous to one’s health. However it is peculiar is that smoking should rank so highly among the numerous social problems that await resolve.”

  • 3

    Maria

    The thing is, Japan's recent changes in attitude towards smoking are not so much about health concerns as about not being a bother to those around you.

    The court case in question is about one neighbour objecting to the smells emanating from a downstairs neighbour's balcony. Damages were awarded not because of damage to health, but mental anguish.

    So, based on this, someone who hates the smell of coffee brewing, fish grilling, vegetables steaming, curry or garlic cooking, or incense burning could potentially claim a suit, if they don't like that smell. Would they win? Perhaps not, but that the judge said nothing about the health aspect is worrying.

  • 2

    billyshears

    Even a pack-a-day man loses only three years on average from his life so I always wonder why some non-smokers seem to believe that if the tiniest whiff of tobacco smoke alights on their dainty nostrils that they need to act like they will lose several years from their lives

    Obviously, you've never visited a hospital lung cancer ward or experienced a loved one dying of lung or throat cancer. "only loses three years"? You forgot the unbearable suffering involved. As you obviously don't have a clue, educate yourself about secondhand smoke:

    "Passive smoking is the inhalation of smoke, called second-hand smoke (SHS), or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), by persons other than the intended "active" smoker. It occurs when tobacco smoke permeates any environment, causing its inhalation by people within that environment. Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke causes disease, disability, and death.[1][2][3] The health risks of second-hand smoke are a matter of scientific consensus.[4][5][6] These risks have been a major motivation for smoke-free laws in workplaces and indoor public places, including restaurants, bars and night clubs, as well as some open public spaces."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_smoking

    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/secondhand-smoke

    http://www.epa.gov/smokefre/healtheffects.html

  • 1

    billyshears

    Moriyo Kimura, a doctor and also Technical official for the Ministry of Health and Welfare sheds some light on the possible cause: "..... there is concrete scientific evidence to suggests smoking is hazardous to one’s health. However it is peculiar is that smoking should rank so highly among the numerous social problems that await resolve.”

    Peculiar? I suppose it is not completely impossible that this guy has his sights set on floating down on a golden "amakudari" retirement parachute into the plush executive lounge at Japan Tobacco?

  • 0

    Elementz

    As a former smoker, I can relate to both sides of the issue. Personally, if I am walking down the street and someone is smoking, it's a bit annoying. It's a bit more of a nuisance to walk in or out of an establishment and someone is smoking next to the door. Can't stand it. Smokers in a bar or izakaya, however, doesn't bother me at all. After all, a bar and izakaya is a place where people go to drink, talk, and smoke----historically speaking. Nowadays there are plenty of non-smoking establishments that non-smokers can frequent. My wife hates smoke and won't go anywhere near it. So, we make a point of going to non-smoking joints,or at venues where smoking is segregated. It's really not that big of an issue to either of us. If a bar or izakaya wants to allow smoking, they don't get my business. Simple as that.

    Banning smoking in public spaces is one thing and there is a role for the government to take action should the public demand it. Going too far is when the government forces policy on citizens, effectively telling them what they may or may not do with their private property.

    Let the market decide.

  • -1

    Moonraker

    @billy shears

    Yes, I admit, discerning the subtle difference between promotion of smoking and tolerance of smoking is hard for some. So those who call for tolerance also become the enemy. I have no doubts that tobacco can cause cancer. But the link is not quite as secure as you would like, statistically-speaking. The fact of people having cancer and dying painfully is neither here nor there, since many of us will end up with cancer, smokers or not. Passive smoking in a confined environment for long periods can also cause cancer. It is ridiculous to argue otherwise. What I am saying is that smokers must be more considerate of others, as I am on the occasions I smoke (with a beer). Similarly non-smokers of the crusading bent should tone it down a bit. Their sanctimoniousness grates and it seems to exhibit a hint of domination and smugness.

    In fact, I would be more inclined to smoke in their company just so they would leave, but that would be a bit nasty.

  • 0

    dcog9065

    @Moonraker I mean to say that this discussion is pretty pointless now as it's mostly just general, recycled rants lacking any credibility.

    You don't have to worry, Japan protects its smokers; no smoker will ever have to worry about infringements on their freedoms by bigots in this country.

  • 3

    caffeinebuzz

    Defiant smokers often claim that they are being unfairly targeted. Most cleaners however, will tell you just how lazy and uncaring the vast majority of smokers are of their surrounds. Where I worked, you could see cigarette butts piled up in outside alcoves of buildings, with dedicated bins only a few meters away which they could have used- but just couldn't be bothered with. In Japan, one of my peeves was with friends who would ask if they could smoke, while already in the process of lighting up. I don't think all smokers are selfish, but I think it's an addictive habit which overrides consideration of people who sensibly choose not to smoke. By the way, there is nothing more miserable than walking behind a smoker on a wet, and cold day.

  • 1

    Ayler

    Smokers talking about freedom to smoke....hahaha. Like you have a choice in the matter. You need legislation to help you do what you don't have the willpower to do. It's an issue of health for sure but for me it is more an issue of manners.You'd think smokers would care what other people think since it was probably peer pressure that made them start. Learn from your peers now. The large majority if people want you to stop and more than likely so do you. Freedom to be a slave...omfg.

  • -8

    umbrella

    gone too far?? What?? Smoking should be outlawed as is the case with the other drugs cannabis and cocaine.

  • 1

    JoeBigs

    I for one can't stand smoking, I hate the smell and the taste it leaves in my mouth after sitting next to someone who chain smokes.

    If someone wants to play Russian Roulette with their own lungs I have no problems, but I for one would rather walk out of a dinner than play the same game with my life as someone else.

    So I make sure that the place has a "real" no smoking section before eating if the place doesnot then I go to the next.

  • 2

    smithinjapan

    Moonraker: "And show me the evidence that mere whiffs of other people's cigars or pipes or cigarettes or joints are abnormally injurious to health."

    I know you'll try to find ways to ignore these stats, and these are not even that new. But then it would not be unusual in your case:

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Howmanypeopledieperyearfromsecondhand_smoke

    Ah, you'll probably balk and talk about how being constantly exposed to second-hand smoke at a restaurant isn't the same as the "whiff" you tried to counter with, but it proves very effectively the harm of second-hand smoke.

    "In fact, I would be more inclined to smoke in their company just so they would leave..."

    Credibility meet window.

  • 1

    Moonraker

    Yes, smithinJapan, as I already said, "Passive smoking in a confined environment for long periods can also cause cancer. It is ridiculous to argue otherwise." But I am indeed talking of the whiff. Still, the subtlety of my argument does not suit this debate so I hereby give up on it and will continue to be considerate of others.

  • 2

    avigator

    The less smokers in the World, the better. Or, less dogs, less fleas. There is a sure place for smokers: in the wilderness, or their one homes, if they live alone.

  • 2

    rnauser

    No it hasen´t gone to far. For example, smoking on balconys are forbidden in many other countrys, most Scandinavian countrys has even harder laws against smoking in public and where you can or can not smoke.

  • 4

    Mike Critchley

    the Japanese government is pushing anti-smoking in a way that for many restricts individuals’ freedom

    I think you've never stepped outside of Japan if you consider Japan restrictive. Even in neighboring "developing" countries such as Thailand and The Philippines, restaurants and coffee shops are 100% smoke free. And in the West, you can't smoke anywhere that it might affect non smokers' rights to health and a smoke-free environment.

    Indeed, when it comes to restricting smokers, Japan has it absolutely backwards -- they don't allow people to smoke outdoors, yet indoor smoking -- the most dangerous to other individuals -- is still considered the norm.

  • 2

    blendover

    Some people are highly sensitive to the slightest smell of tobacco smoke, whereas others are not. I don't see any problem with this guy having a puff on his balcony at all. However, I see a huge problem with him being a lousy neighbour and refusing to desist from smoking on his balcony when asked. Most Japanese are not like that. They comply with their neighbour"s requests even if they think them unreasonable, but the ones that refuse to go along stick out like a sore thumb. What was this woman supposed to do? Move apartments? Some would have done that so as not to disturb the wa. Others would be just as bad as he was, and do something anti social back to him. I'm glad that this lady chose the middle path. She sought legal recourse and won. Good on her.

  • 3

    Fadamor

    There was an incident in Japan last year involving a male smoker and his neighbor. As part of his daily routine, the man would often go out on the balcony for a cigarette. The woman living above however, claimed that the smoke fumes created so much stress that it affected her both mental and physically. In December 2012, the woman filed a case against her neighbor at Nagoya District Court, claiming that by not considering the effects of his behavior on those around him, the man was breaching the law.

    Not sure why this was cited, as it represents a lawsuit, not the breaking of a criminal anti-smoking law (which was supposed to be what this article was about, right?)

    Even so, the Japanese government is pushing anti-smoking in a way that for many restricts individuals’ freedom, with some suggesting that laws should not be influenced by individual government members’ own pet hates.

    Individuals have never had the "freedom" to cause respiratory distress in others. There's enough scientific data gathered now that proves "secondhand smoke" is indeed harmful to non-smokers. Children born into a house of smokers have a much higher incidence of asthma compared to children born into a house of non-smokers.

  • 3

    dracpoo2

    Ahmmm gone too far? Well maybe you should ask the toddler I saw sitting in her father's car while he was smoking in it.

  • 3

    YongYang

    The further it goes the smaller my NO will become until, when at last it is illegal, my NO pops out of sight. Smokers just do NOT care that they are giving OTHER people their cancer causing habit.

  • 2

    Magnet

    They haven't gone far enough! I'll only be satisfied with the anti-smoking laws once they ban it in all restaurants and izakayas. It'll be nice to finally taste food again without the all the cigarette smoke.

  • -1

    YongYang

    @Moonraker:

    In fact, I would be more inclined to smoke in their company just so they would leave, but that would be a bit nasty.

    Be careful who you try that around, it may well you who be leaving. ;-)

  • -13

    alarmclockcoffee

    Yes, recent smoking laws have gone too far. Smoking is a part of social culture here and also a way to relax for businesspeople who work long hours.

    I find alcohol much more offensive than smoking. I get tired of people asking me if I want to go drinking and pressuring me to drink too much. I also see people vomiting all the time in public places. In my home country, public drunkenness is illegal and these people would be fined or picked up by the police.

    Yet, I realize alcohol is part of the culture and a certain percentage of the population enjoys it. So, live and let live. I enjoy a cigarette and smoking is a way to relax and communicate with my co-workers.

    A lot of these hardcore anti-smoking activists overreact so strongly to a little second hand smoke that it's hard to believe they are really only worried bout the negligible health risks. The truth is that they just don't want anyone else to have any fun. Luckily, unlike smokers, they are going to live forever.

  • 8

    Tokiyo

    Culture as an excuse doesn't cut it. Smoking as an excuse to relax and communicate with co-workers yeah whatever, you can do that fags or not. Not everyone who doesn't want smoke in their face is a prude - go have your fun, far far way good riddance.

  • 4

    Tokiyo

    Culture as an excuse doesn't cut it. You find alcohol more offensive? you don't have to breath other people booze. Smoking as an excuse to relax and communicate with co-workers yeah whatever, you can do that fags or not. Not everyone who doesn't want smoke in their face is a prude - go have your fun, far far way good riddance.

  • -12

    Open Minded

    And still Japanese people have the longest life expectation in the world...

    What is they would not smoke? 95 years? 100 years? ...

    Smoking is nothing but heathy, but it needs to be put in the life balance. For oneself, excess in junk food is most likely worst. For others, excess in perfume is bothering.

    A little bit of respect and tolerance from everyone would not hurt.

  • -2

    Open Minded

    ... nothing but unhealthy... obviously!

  • 2

    dk405

    One thing that amazes me is how insane people in Japan are going about PM2.5 from China. Most Japanese have no idea that the levels of PM2.5 in workplaces, bars, izakaya, restaurants, etc. where people smoke are some of the highest levels. In fact, inside of an Osaka izakaya is where the highest PM2.5 levels were recorded.

    The reality is that smoking inside of a building is posing an unreasonable risk of harm to innocent people. I would rather Japan stop banning smoking on the streets and ban smoking in all indoor places. I have been to doctors offices where the docs light up in their offices. I have taught English at government offices in Tokyo and at the engineering headquarters for one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world and they STILL allow smoking in the office. Of course, smoking outdoors raises levels of harmful gasses and pm2.5 particles, but indoor smoking is so much worse. Japan must move quickly to ban smoking indoors in all places other than private residences. It should be much easier now that the government is selling more of their JT stock.

  • 6

    shallots

    I live in Osaka. It is a smoker's paradise. There are hardly any restaurants in which one can avoid smoke. No bars. I don't know what this article is talking about. And, the "experts" quoted seem to be living in another universe.

  • 1

    sighclops

    Not far enough! Walk into any Dotour and you have trouble finding the counter through all the smoke!

    Lawmakers should take a trip to Australia for the epitome of extreme anti-smoking laws... and that's why it's the best country on earth to live in :)

  • 1

    JoiceRojo

    Great discussion points here. I sometimes wonder if the pro-smokers are the same people as the pro-whalers? Both disrespect life and are completely self-serving in their "reasons".

    I think you forgot to say that "we" (I am a smoker, dirty dirty killing selfish smoker) also are racist, pro death, homophobic, or whatever else... are you out of your mind Ranger_Miffy2 ??? I am shocked from what I read from most anti-smokers... You are a menace to society all of you, what do you want to jail us? Put us in camp? Ban us from cities? Hitler would not have had any better ideology than you guys. Thanks you stressed me up I need a smoke!

    My sentiments exactly...

    Ok, I'm also a smoker and I have seen how fanatical non-smokers can get, I'm kinda used to it. between the two it is a struggle that's unresolved, it's like a democrat and republican arguing

    But back on topic: First, although I'm smoker I do think the laws in Japan are lax compared with other countries, so to answer the question, no, It is not gone too far. I think that it is because smokers ARE inconsiderate. Personally, I don't like mixing food with smoke, so simply I don't do it, I'm in favor of all restaurants smoke free, heck, any closed space should be smoke free, train stations, parks with closed spaces where the smoke can travel to other people. My smoking, my vice is mine alone and it is private, which occasionally enjoy with friends who also smoke, but I would not force you to smoke nor I force the fumes on you if you don't like (it's polite, you see?) But since many smokers do not think like I do there is the need to protect those who don't like at all.

    As for the lady who sued her neighbor for the smoke, I can understand where it might came from, however, i do think it is exaggerate to pay 50000 yen for the mental anguish. Than can only be attributed to someone who was so inconsiderate to contaminate her space AFTER he was asked not to do so. My brother lives in an apartment and I can see why the smoke from a cigarrete can be harmful for the neighbor specially if there's no wind and if the neighbor hangs their clothes in the balcony, but if that neighbor shows no complains I might not be aware of the damage.

    Wakarimasen: let's enjoy a puff sometime....

  • 2

    Fadamor

    And still Japanese people have the longest life expectation in the world...

    Is your data from BEFORE or AFTER they found out that a bunch of centenarians had actually been dead for a while and were just being counted as "alive" for the pension money? Get rid of all the fraud and the life expectation in Japan lowers.

  • -8

    megosaa

    Probie i wonder what type of vehicles you or your family drives... i hope they don't emit too much fumes.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Moonraker: " But I am indeed talking of the whiff."

    I knew you would make excuses. "The whiff" does not apply to second-hand smoke in general, and doesn't account for all the harm statistics you demanded.

    "Still, the subtlety of my argument does not suit this debate so I hereby give up on it"

    Figured you would. And it's not 'subtlety', it's 'inability to retort'. People on here are pointing out that second-hand smoke kills -- it's a fact -- and when you're called up on it you leave. You are also the same poster that said they would smoke around a person just to get them to leave -- in other words, spite. How is that considerate?

    shallots: " I don't know what this article is talking about. And, the "experts" quoted seem to be living in another universe."

    It's another fluff piece, plain and simple.

  • 6

    Matthew Parker

    I don't think the laws have gone too far at all. Last year nearly every small/medium sized bar or restaurant I went into there would be a group of people smoking filling the place with fumes.

    A few I walked out of. Some I stayed ate and got out of there. Had there not been smokers I would have stayed and had many more beers and most probably ate more.

    Coming from Australia where it is illegal to smoke in any venue and even alot of outdoor events means it was quite a shock.

    The day it is banned except for inside your own home will be a good one.

  • 2

    commanteer

    I hate smoking, but I also hate a government that wants to control every little part of our lives. Bars and restaurants are private property. They should have the right to decide for themselves what they can do. If there's such a demand for non-smoking pubs, then open one up yourself and get rich. Again, I think smokers are filthy - human chimneys with a pathetic addiction. But the road to fascism is built by people who think that every annoyance in life should be addressed by tighter state control over all of us. And is foul as all that second hand smoke is, people are way overestimating the health risks. We live under a haze of pollution, drink contaminated water, eat foods filled with all kinds of carcinogens, antibiotics and other poisons, and yet still believe that second hand smoke is going to kill us? No sanity there at all.

  • -9

    Mathew Morash

    I sure hear a lot of comments saying they should ban tobacco outright or they should make laws more strict, because they don't like smelling smoke, or some such nonsense. This is the real world people. Laws are not made to make YOU happier. They are made to keep order and to thwart criminal behavior. The fact of the matter is there is not a significant study that shows that second hand smoke causes ANY health issues, because its impossible to prove and highly unlikely. You are exposed to carcinogens and pollutants and toxins and GMOs (and now radiation) everyday. And you want to blame your health problems on the whiff of cigarette smoke you happen to smell when leaving the station? Grow up. This is a society and just because you don't happen to smoke, doesn't mean that stripping away someone's rights to make you feel slightly more relaxed makes any sense at all.

    Lets just make everything illegal to try to make everyone happy...is that the logic?

    Btw, it's the additives in the cigarettes that make them harmful to your health. Nicotine has been shown numerous times to be beneficial to the human body, although addictive.

  • 5

    akumakoe

    I'll admit I didn't read ALL the comments, but one thing I didn't really see touched on is the effect on adult health! Yes, it's terrible to light up close to a kid, and it sucks to get stuck behind a smoker walking down the street, or one sitting next to you at a restaurant -- it stinks. But it more than stinks; it's terribly unhealthy.

    For the people arguing that you can't find clean air in Japan -- there's a huge difference between pollution diluted in the gigantic space of outside air, and toxic fumes either being trapped in a restaurant or being blown right into your face. High concentration = more damaging.

    The argument that people should be allowed to light up in 'night spots' also pisses me off. It'd be fine if it was 50/50 -- if there were some bars banning it and some that don't, but I don't think that'll ever be possible. It pisses me off because I'm an adult (re: kids don't go to these places), I enjoy having a few drinks with friends in a relaxing bar environment, and I have severe asthma. I oftentimes have to turn down invitations to outings because so few bars (restaurants, even!) are non-smoking, and when I do decide that this-one-time-won't-hurt, I end up getting terribly ill. It's not worth risking my health to go out, but it's a huge disappointment that the opportunity is so rare.

    And it sounds like most smokers don't even consider this. There ARE people around you with conditions that your rude smoking habits can have a dire effect on.

  • 0

    Wakarimasen

    agree with Mathew and Joice. A bit of live and let live coupled with less hysteria (of the second smoke kills or I hate smelling of smoke type) might makr tthis more iof a discussion than an argumant.

  • 0

    cleo

    Mathew Morash -

    I sure hear a lot of comments saying they should ban tobacco outright or they should make laws more strict, because they don't like smelling smoke, or some such nonsense

    It's not nonsense to have to take days off work due to a tight chest and breathing difficulties.

    there is not a significant study that shows that second hand smoke causes ANY health issues, because its impossible to prove and highly unlikely.

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

    akumakoe -

    most smokers don't even consider this. There ARE people around you with conditions that your rude smoking habits can have a dire effect on.

    It seems you and I are in the same boat, though my asthma is not severe - it's brought on by smoke. Establishments that allow smoking do not get my custom, it simply isn't worth it.

  • -4

    afanofjapan

    To all the smokers telling us that if we dont like smoking in nightspots, we should go to a non-smoking establishment... Can anyone give me a list of izakayas/bars in Tokyo (sure it wont take long) that DONT allow smoking?

    Only ONE place springs to mind: Ageha, and that is a bit far & somewhat expensive (mind you they still have areas where smokers can light up).

    because they don't like smelling smoke, or some such nonsense I have decided that the next time someone lights a cigarette next to me in a restaurant, i will push out a fart in their direction. Hope its a stinker!

  • 3

    Ari94

    Those who want to smoke should smoke and those who don't want should not. It is easy and simple. But question is where to smoke and where not to?

    I have noticed smoking inside Train station is not allowed however, can smoke in smoking area designated in open air outside station. Similarly some office do apply same method. But the question is those who smoke in open air and the smoke fume which moves freely and create stress to nearby passer what should they do? Why can't they make covered smoking area rather an open air?

  • 0

    squeeks

    Just quick smoking! It's not that hard. I did it cold turkey.

  • -5

    smithinjapan

    Mathew Morash: "The fact of the matter is there is not a significant study that shows that second hand smoke causes ANY health issues, because its impossible to prove and highly unlikely."

    I have a unicorn for sale if you want it.

    "You are exposed to carcinogens and pollutants and toxins and GMOs (and now radiation) everyday."

    It's "every day", not "everyday". I certainly don't get out enough "everymonth".

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Squeeks: "Just quick smoking! It's not that hard. I did it cold turkey."

    As did I, a few times. You're right it's not actually that hard, but when presented with ads of body builders or hotties smoking and emitting 'peach mint' breath, and with it being prevalent EVERYWHERE in Japan unlike what this article suggests (well, okay... Japan is a bit tighter with its laws than Viet Nam when it comes to ciggies, although Viet Nam enforces them better!), it's equally not as difficult to go back. It should be illegal to, and that illegality should be enforced instead of suggested.

  • -1

    smithinjapan

    Wakarimasen: "A bit of live and let live coupled with less hysteria (of the second smoke kills or I hate smelling of smoke type) might makr tthis more iof a discussion than an argumant."

    First off, in this case 'live and let live' means killing others. Second, would it makr tthis mor iof a spelling lesson than an argumAnt?

  • -2

    25psot

    As ex-smoker I don't mind other people enjoying life around me. Smoking is a culture not just inhaling and exhaling.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    25psot: " Smoking is a culture"

    One that should be extinct for the benefit of all other cultures.

  • 1

    Wakarimasen

    Smith

    Thanks for the spelling lesson. Actually more of a typing lesson needed. I think you overstate the case when you say some small exposure to 2nd hand smoke is "killing others". As before, I am quite conscious of where I smoke and of not inconveniencing others - i think the point here is that as long as places are provided for smoking and, more importantly, I am not prevented or punished for smoking at home (which the article kind of says one can be if one accepts that my balcony is part of my home) then I accept some people hate the smell of smoke and feel that their health is threatened by inhaling a whiff of 2nd hand smoke. As for the rules around bars and clubs, i think the law in Japan (i.e. the owner can exclude if they want) is at the right level.

  • 6

    BurakuminDes

    What really bugs me here is seeing parents smoking in a car with kids in it. It is absolutely and undeniably child abuse - and the grubs should be booked for it as happens in other countries, ie Australia.

  • 1

    AKBfan

    I hate smoking in my car.

  • 1

    It"S ME

    I grew up with parents/family that smoked a lot and never was fond of it. Tried it myself in the late teens but soon gave it up.

    All my friends/acquaintances know that me and family are non-smokers and I still have an ash-tray ready for them.

    Simple rule don't smoke like a chimney and don't smoke while people are still eating.

    Everybody happy here as a few rules I put into place ensure that they get to smoke and my family won't be affected too much.

  • -4

    SecularBeast

    The anti-smoking lobby has been running rampant in Australia, with politicians often pushing for bans based upon emotive evidence such as 'cancer caused by smoking killed my relative', cigarette companies are evil, smoking is anti-social because of the smell or second hand smoke etc etc. The tendency is to blame smoking for every disease a smoker contracts (although curiously non-smokers contract these same diseases as well), and by extension portray every smoker as some kind of irresponsible addicted sociopath hell bent on murdering themselves and children.

    One of the 'joys' of living in any society, is that people will invariably do things that annoy others, but which we learn to tolerate for the sake of social harmony. If we start banning anything because it annoys some people or is potentially harmful (like the things listed above) we may as well all be hermits living in isolated personal cells subsisting on nuts and water. I'm sure those opposed to smoke/smoking/smokers also have habits or consume products which are ultimately just as annoying or as harmful to others - but which others tolerate.

    Time for a smoke :)

  • 0

    It"S ME

    Forgot to add burning candles also reduces the smell of smoking tobacco as do a few other ways. Like those small things you but your cigarette butt in and it goes out on it's own.

  • 4

    cleo

    All my friends/acquaintances know that me and family are non-smokers and I still have an ash-tray ready for them.

    Same here. The ashtray is down at the bottom of the garden.

  • -1

    hambaagaa

    first of all this woman is quite obsessed with this guy and suffering from mental already. i am sure the guy is not smoking more than one hour in his balcony even thinking he is spending whole day at home. and i dont understand why the woman is not complaining about cars or other pollution. basically, for something i dont use but suffer from other people using it, i should be complaining. then, court should also rule that car can only use specific areas since i dont want to be poisoned from exhaust gas. this makes no sense as smoking ban. same is valid for izakayas and bars also. have you ever heard anyone saying alcohol smell makes them dizzy or umcomfortable?!? if you go such places then you know everyone is there to feel relaxed. and in japan, smoking is already being punished enough already and if you are non-smoker you can enjoy smoke-free areas in restaurants. if you cannot, then it is first place's faut for no providing you such area and seccond your fault for insisting to go there.

  • 1

    dcog9065

    I grew up with parents/family that smoked a lot and never was fond of it. Tried it myself in the late teens but soon gave it up.

    Yeah I've heard from a few different people and it appears that there's a marked tendency to not smoke if your parents or immediate family smoke heavily while you grew up, while conversely the opposite shows a tendency to smoke if growing up in a non-smoking environment.

    I guess this could be attributed to the curiosity element humans experience while growing up, whereas in a smoking environment the unpleasant smell of burning tobacco may put off potential smokers for life due to their experiences growing up.

  • 4

    Ranger_Miffy2

    bento.com has a listing of non-smoking restaurants and izakayas. Please patronize them extensively. I always check their first when arranging meetings with friends.

    I am also with Cleo in having lost three family members to cancer from chain smoking...and they died horribly, while helpless family members watched.

    So all you pro-smokers are pathetic. Japan, let's join the modern world and ban smoking from all indoor spaces and the streets. Tokyo, for instance, is just too crowded for smokers in the streets. I'm always having to change my route when I see one of those human chimneys ahead of me.

    And, yeah, I stand by my hypothesis that there may a connection in the behavior of smokers and those who abuse whales. Don't make a federal case out of it. It's just an idea.

    Banning smoking is just not healthy for anyone, including waitstaff.

  • 2

    cleo

    in a smoking environment the unpleasant smell of burning tobacco may put off potential smokers for life due to their experiences growing up

    Experiences growing up, for sure - but not the smell of tobacco. It's the experience of watching your parents coughing up phlem and part of their lungs every morning, getting the shakes when they are forced to abstain for a couple of hours, and the sheer insanity of a grown man who in all other aspects was not stupid, being absolutely unable to kick the habit even after a series of heart attacks and warnings from his doctor that the next one would kill him. And it did. At least he didn't leave a grieving widow - her 'only pleasure in life' had taken her fourteen years earlier, ten years younger than I am now. She never got to meet her son-in-law or either of her daughters-in-law, nor any of her grandchildren. I can't imagine that anyone in their right mind would want to emulate that.

    Our kids grew up in a non-smoking environment, and both of them hate being in the same room as a smoker. I have no worries that either of them will ever become smokers.

  • 3

    Chamkun

    Japan needs to promulgate more draconian smoking control laws.

    If we need to see the full implementation of our constitution of Japan article 25.The government needs to make more drastic approach. Article 99 states to keep the constitution is the duty of Emperor, Prime minister, and administration the politicians,,,,and so on. The people who has more power they have more duty.

    For example, a tax for cigarettes must be much higher to discourage people to smoke but still some people want to smoke, they have more chance to be sick, the tax for cigarettes should be used as to maintain our health insurance system.

    Yes some inconvenience will be increased for smokers. If smoking has no health effect to others, I would say different opinion but since the second hand smoke will jeopardize non smokers health as well. In that case the right to smoke and not smoke must not be treated as equal right. The right for seeking our healthy environment which stated in article 25 and having our desire to live as healthy as possible, this right is much stronger right than the right for smoking.

  • -5

    fds

    in the end, smoking will probably be banned everywhere as the anti-smoking nazis tend to be more numerous and vocal. i always thought that that the stakeholder should decide. smokers have more health problems, add a tax to cigarettes to cover it. if the property owner doesn't want to allow smoking, put up a sign saying whether you can smoke or not and then let people choose whether they want to go in or not. in the apartment building case, the building owner should decide. then you choose whether you want rent or not... but of course this makes too much sense to politician who want votes...

  • 3

    AustPaul

    Not at all, about time they caught up with the rest of the world....I respect smokers right to smoke, until it impinges on my right to breathe clean air...

  • 6

    KnowBetter

    Anti-smokers are increasingly pushing forward their demands, seeing a pollution-free environment as part of their right to a healthy lifestyle. But is it going too far?

    In simple terms anyone's right to breathe clean air trumps a smoker's right to smoke. Any day!!!

  • -2

    AKBfan

    No such thing as clean air. does this mean that it is ok to smoke on days when we have smog over from China? what about pollen? Exhaust fumes?

  • -11

    Row Bur

    Let's turn yet another country into a nanny state! As long as it's legal I'll smoke where I like. One hundred odd years of fossil fuel use has ravaged our planet, but you want to complain about smelly clothes. Move to Australia if you don't value your independence from Govt. meddling.

  • 5

    cleo

    As long as it's legal I'll smoke where I like.

    ...which is why people push for stricter and stricter smoking laws.

  • 4

    Mike Critchley

    bento.com has a listing of non-smoking restaurants and izakayas

    @Ranger_Miffy2: I couldn't find the list on that site. Do you have an exact URL for that?

    We were just in TGI Friday's in Ueno. I asked for non smoking. The guy immediately beside me in the bar area lit up. I asked the waitress to be moved to non smoking. "This IS the non smoking section," she said without any hint of sarcasm. lol

    The right for clean air is still a long way off in Japan.

  • 4

    Ranger_Miffy2

    Mike C...happy to oblige!

    http://www.bento.com/r-nosm.html

    Go there and tell them you came because they do not allow smoking.

  • 5

    Serrano

    It's weird to have smoking laws that forbid smoking outside where the smoke basically just goes up and dissipates into the atmosphere ( though it sometimes drifts into my face first ), whilst allowing smoking inside buildings like restaurants where people are eating and the smoke has nowhere to go but circulate around the room.

  • 3

    AustPaul

    Row Bur- that's exactly the sort of comment a hard core smoker who doesn't care less would make. ...As I said, smokers can puff away all they like, so long as it is not around non smokers.I think the smokers with some common sense these days understand and respect that.

    AKB Fan -Clean air? (Well, it is cleaner where I live..) I am sure you get the gist.

  • 3

    Hunter Brumfield

    Cleo, totally with you. I've had at least FOUR family members die of either lung cancer, emphysema, or stroke brought on by heavy smoking.

    Happy to say my two-pack-a-day father quit when in his mid-40s, and lived until 94. He had been a career officer in an army where smoking was encouraged by unlimited free cartons of Lucky Strikes handed out to the troops.

    I complained in this space before about my balcony-smoking neighbor. I think I have the solution, though not exactly intended. We got a puppy, now a full-throated dog. I can see a battle shaping up this spring between our two balconies.

    It should be interesting to find out whether the butt is more powerful than the bark.

  • 0

    Hikozaemon

    Erm, how old is this...?

    The DPJ has been out of government for a while now.

  • 3

    zurcronium

    Anything the smokers say on this thread must be understood as the mumblings of a hopelessly pitiful addict. No better than a meth head or a herion junkie. Addicts will do and say anything to get their fix.

    Smokers have no rights to give cancer to others, but of couse they do this everyday they smoke in areas where other people are blasted by their soupy exhaust of thousands of chemicals. Many of which cause cancer. Ten of thousands of non-smokers die each year due to smokers. In the Japan it is in the thousands. Kids in Japan have traces of tobacco chemicals in their blood, these are kids that do not have parents that smoke.

    So lit up another you dreadful addicts. And be proud that you are poisoning kids. Make sure you throw your finished product on the street like so many of you do so you can also pollute there as well. Must make you feel good inside, after of course you get your fix.

    Laws is Japan are far too lax and everyone including the addicts know it. The price should be doubled and smoking should be banned from indoors and any public areas like parks where people gather. Less people will die from second hand smoke if Japan had the guts to do what is right for the 80% of us that do not want to die from lung cancer. Everyplace that has imposed lmits on smoking has seen cancer rates go down. It is automatic.

  • 0

    Mike Critchley

    @Ranger_Miffy2: Thanks a million for the bento.com link to the non-smoking places. I also tweeted them to show some solidarity. lol http://www.bento.com/r-nosm.html

    I just hope the list grows. Right now it's mostly larger places right in downtown TOkyo area. I hope the list grows out to where we are in Chiba. Actually, Monsoon cafe in Ikspiari in Maihama is now 100% smoke free. I just wish an Izakaya or two would follow suit. At least the Tengu in Inage Kaigan has a large well-separated non-smoking area. I reckon that like everything in Japan, Japan will go 100% smoke free overnight...just not sure when that will be.

    And just to add my two-bits about the cancer thing, my mom died from an oral cancer the doctor said was definitely due to her smoking habit (she quit when she was in her 50s). Try living with half of your jaw cut away if you want to keep telling yourself that smoking is worth it.

  • 1

    Ayler

    It's just so lame. The only people who don't want you to quit are big businesses and the government. Your family, friends and almost everyone else around you wants you to either stop or just drop dead right now. Family and friends probably choose the former but when I am near a smoker it is always the latter. NOT because of passive smoking but because you are so effing rude and devoid of manners and sense I'd simply be a lot happier if you weren't here.

  • 0

    Ranger_Miffy2

    If Tokyo gets the Olympic nod, that is our big chance to lobby for Tokyo (and the rest of Japan) to catch up with the rest of the civilized world and ban all indoor smoking. Next, all outdoor smoking.

    That's right! Smokers can smoke in isolation and at home with all windows and doors shut tight. I've seen it happen before in other countries, and many smokers actually quit because it becomes such a hassle.

  • 2

    afanofjapan

    @ranger_miffy... thanks. I also found http://www.kinen-style.com/ and i will be sure to bookmark both sites. Cant wait to casually suggest a non-smoking place the next time my friends are looking for an Izakaya (most of my friends dont smoke)

  • -4

    Shi Yuehan

    One man's poison, is another man's medication.

  • 5

    Kuribo1

    Good, get rid of all smoking in public. Nothing uglier than a pretty Japanese girl with a nasty cancer stick hanging out of her mouth.

  • 1

    ka_chan

    Smokers are murders. Millions die from second hand smoke every year. It's one think to kill yourself, it's another to kill yourself, your love, your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, and anyone you come in contact with.

  • -3

    moomoochoo

    Japan has anti-smoking laws?!

  • 1

    akumakoe

    I'm so grateful for the non-smoking links! Will definitely check out some of these places.

    On another note, the anti-smoking-law posters here who are clamoring about us non-smoking 'nazis' (insensitive and terrible metaphor to be using, really) complaining about SMELL... are entirely missing the point.

  • 2

    Dragoncloud64

    Some people are allergic to the smoke, and noone wants to have their clothes smell like smoke...

  • -6

    bellsmyre49

    I was in Japan last year - it's a smokers paradise compared to the UK. Cheap fags, and restaurants where you can smoke in a separate place from the non smokers.

    Personally I'm happy to stay away from rabid anti smokers as so many of them seem to have such intolerant fascistic attitudes to anything they deem to be unacceptable. I don't want anyone like that near me.

    One of the good things about a total ban would be to hear the non smokers whine when their taxes rose to replace the lost revenue from tobacco.

  • 4

    afanofjapan

    Have taxes risen in the UK and Australia etc where cigarettes are all but completely banned? I dont recall ever seeing any whiney posts from non smoker friends there?

  • 5

    GyGene

    Allergic to smoke - loathe it, and it cannot be controlled by smoker - the mess just permeates everywhere!

  • 8

    Anna-Maija Juuso

    Visited Japan in january. I was having my lunch in a restaurant and a gentleman lighted a cigarrette at a table nearby. What kind of right he has to ruin my lunch? I live in Finland and here smoking is banned in bars and restaurants.Even in the winter you can see smokers having to go for a smoke outside, in - 25 and that is generally accepted. Smoking is a deadly habit you can of course choose but passive smoking is as hazardous as smoking. Have to say that Japan is coming far behind other western countries.

  • 2

    Ayler

    Personally I'm happy to stay away from rabid anti smokers as so many of them seem to have such intolerant fascistic attitudes to anything they deem to be unacceptable.

    I'm a 'fascist' about smoking and smoking only. Killjoy? Ahahaha . I don't care about anything you do except smoking around me. Still, if your little rebellious streak gives you the motivation to keep smoking and "sticking it to the man" go with it, keep the delusion alive!

  • 4

    OrangeXenon54

    It definitely hasn't gone far enough. I was in a Mister Donut in Akihabara a couple months back and this jerk salary man lit up a cigar. Yes, you read that right, a cigar, not a cigarette. It was disgusting. The 2nd floor didn't have a designated, sealed off smoking area. It was all just smoking, even though there were only a couple seats in the first floor. That's ridiculous. I mean, does a cigar really go well with a donut????

    I think public opinion will win on this issue as less and less people smoke. But it's going to take a while as the older-mind-sets are still around. There's a Chinese medicine store in my neighborhood in MItaka that has 4 cigarette vending machines in front of it and I always see the employees grabbing a pack. Contradiction, much?

  • -1

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    Is there still smoking in McDonald's?

  • 1

    jonobugs

    This article seems to be written by a smoker. Other developed countries are definitely more strict about non-smoking. It's still pretty difficult to find a good non-smoking restaurant in Fukuoka, and as far as people walking and smoking, I see it EVERY day on my way to work, so I hardly think that's rare.

  • 0

    budgie

    Too far? Not nearly far enough and nowhere near the standards in Canada, NZ or Australia. Almost everywhere I go I'm drowning in smoke. Izakayas, even Starbucks and McDonalds. Is it too much to ask smokers to hold off polluting my breathing space till they're in a quiet space away from the rest of us?

  • -4

    Patric Spohn

    Ah, the good old story about who has more common sense. In Japan people love to complain. Most of them have no life outside their daily Pilgrimage to work and back. In the 70s smoking was allowed everywhere, even at hospitals as the movies tell. And it didn't kill our parents or otherwise you wouldn't be reading this. Secondhand inhalation of city dust, sometimes coming from China, is far more health concerning. Anyways, let's not forget the extra tax that comes in from those bad smokers, who have a life filled with fun and acceptance towards others. Approximately a staggering US$ 50 million in tobacco tax revenues that the JP government is making, every single day, and used for fixing deficits of other weak departments like pension plans. Maybe we could suggest additional designated farting-make-up-nose-picking areas, and maybe non-smoking gathering spots where one can socialize with another, like those bad smokers are doing all the time. My advice, keep your hands off alcohol, smoke a doobie once in a while, and enjoy your entire day, one of only 30,000 one has at average. Pass on a big smile or good judgment once in a while and be considerate to all sorts of thinking, not just blindly following new laws that have been introduced without actually asking the public for their opinion. Real democracy anyone? Great article thanks to RN!

  • 3

    cleo

    it didn't kill our parents or otherwise you wouldn't be reading this

    Explain to my kids why their grandparents aren't here, and weren't here to read to them when they were little.

  • 3

    Simona Stanzani

    aside from the fact that the no. 1 killer in Japan is lung cancer (can hardly think smoking's got nothing to do with it) an increasing number of people is becoming allergic to smoke every year; from my point of view the govt is not even doing enough yet.

  • 5

    zurcronium

    Patric,

    clearly your addiction is getting the better of your logic. 50,000 men a year die of lung cancer in Japan, that is directly linked to smoking. Most die in their 60s so they may have had kids already. About 6000 a year in Japan die from second hand smoke. Do the math. Your smoke contributes to more deaths than any other activity in Japan. Kids are getting sick from your smoking. Facts Patric, not wishful musings from a hopelessly addicted to nicotine patsy. The tobacco companies have you hook, line and sinker. You are a slave to them and they know it.

  • 6

    zurcronium

    Patric,

    clearly your addiction is getting the better of your logic. 50,000 men a year die of lung cancer in Japan, that is directly linked to smoking. Most die in their 60s so they may have had kids already. About 6000 a year in Japan die from second hand smoke. Do the math. Your smoke contributes to more deaths than any other activity in Japan. Kids are getting sick from your smoking. Facts Patric, not wishful musings from a hopelessly addicted to nicotine patsy. The tobacco companies have you hook, line and sinker. You are a slave to them and they know it.

  • 4

    missbatten

    Japanese attitudes to smoking....there's a shop in my neighborhood that seems to be a pharmacy, but half the shop is devoted to cigarette sales, while the opposite wall is medications!

    Smoking is banned in the streets where my husband works, but not where I work or where we live. This is a bigger issue than it used to be now that more people try to keep their living-spaces smoke-free. There is only one road to my local station, and as Probie says, smokers who light up while walking make life miserable for those behind them. The smokers are breathing the nice, fresh morning air, while their cigarettes mostly dangle ignored from their hands. Meanwhile, everybody behind them gets 100% stink, no let-up, and no way to opt out.

  • 1

    Pukey2

    kimoke:

    Is there still smoking in McDonald's?

    who cares about mcdonald's? If the smoke doesn't kill you, the junk food will.

    row bur:

    Let's turn yet another country into a nanny state! As long as it's legal I'll smoke where I like.

    If you don't want a nanny state, then let's have anarchy. abolish all those stupid laws that says killers must go to jail, or muggers can get off scot-free.

    alarmclockcoffee:

    I find alcohol much more offensive than smoking.

    Funny, since I don't smell anything if the folks sitting on the table next to me start drinking. Doesn't affect my nose or food one bit. And it won't give me lung cancer. Smoking to relax? Get a massage or drink a beer.

    The truth is that they just don't want anyone else to have any fun.

    I'm all for everyone having fun, even if it means you want to get lung cancer in the privacy of your own home. But I sure as hell don't like having to pay for your hospital treatment for any diseases knowingly brought about by your habits.

    shi yuehan:

    One man's poison, is another man's medication.

    Yeah, they'll sure need some medication sooner or later! And an oxygen mask 24/7.

  • 3

    Carol O'Donnel

    Smoking is an important risk factor for a number of diseases. According to **ESAGIL **( http://esagil.org ) a symptom checker that matches symptoms with diseases, smoking is related to asthma, allergies, and other respiratory diseases.

  • 1

    TravelingSales

    Even in Korea now the restuarants are going smoke-free. Japan will be left as one foul smelling little pocket among the civilized nations. Do they expect all the tourists who'll come for the rugby World Cup and, hopefully, the Olympics to eat in noxious restaurants and slum in odorous hotels?

  • -7

    Tigerta9

    Time to leave smokers alone. They are doing nothing illegal and if you find it so repulsive then go some place else. Trust me there is probably something about you that the smoker can't stand but at least that stick of tobacco is providing a degree of forbearance that many of the posters on this site obviously lack!

  • 3

    Ayler

    Time to leave smokers alone. They are doing nothing illegal

    Depends where they are being weak. If they are smoking in public they deserve everything they get. Wake up sucka!

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    Japan has anti-smoking laws?

  • 4

    Eigen

    The title of this article made me laugh out loud. Japan? Anti-smoking laws? Cigs are so cheap here, and people smoke EVERYWHERE. It's incredibly offensive.

    Japan's anti-smoking laws have barely started to go ANYWHERE.

    The example given is quite extreme, but how about we compare it with the hundreds of thousands of times daily that people are forced to suck back second hand smoke because some old fart doesn't want to leave the building to light up?

    Cigarette smoke is offensive, much the same as projectile vomit and public urination. I'll be a happy guy when all three can't be detected around a restaurant/city.

  • 0

    afanofjapan

    Cigarette smoke is offensive, much the same as projectile vomit and public urination. I'll be a happy guy when all three can't be detected around a restaurant/city.

    How dare you infringe my right to projectile vomit in a restaurant!! If you dont like it, you should just go somewhere else! Time to leave projectile vomiters alone, we deserve to enjoy our PV wherever we damn like... and not be harassed by the rabid anti-projectile-vomiting crowd.

    /sarcasm

  • 0

    Povens

    Dear Smokers, Please get a plastic bag and cover yourself whenever you want to start smoking to enable you to enjoy the smoke 100% by yourself. I don’t want any percentage of it nor do my friends don’t smoke. Don’t kill me if you want to kill yourself.

  • 0

    jamplass

    Cigarette smoking has always been a nasty, dirty, habit. Yet some people still associate it with being "cool" and fashionable. It doesn't help when you see popular celebrities like Justin Timberlake in his new video taking a drag from a cigarette and throwing it into the street. What an irresponsible ploy to maintain popularity and "street credibility".

    Smoking killed my mom, but even so I don't think I would completely ban it. BUT it must be done away from non-smokers in a completely segregated area or outside. I'm tired of having my dinners in restraunts ruined by noxious fumes of cigarette smoke. And if restaurants do not have designated non-smoking areas, smokers think it's their "right" to pollute the air. As people who hate smoke, we need to make our voices clear: we will not support businesses in Japan who do not have non-smoking sections, and we WILL actively support businesses who go non-smoking and hopefully the trend will catch on.

  • 0

    bgaudry

    I saw a father holding a baby in a restaurant smoking last weekend. Said a lot about how he feels about his child. Mother was at in front of him with another child. Poor children.

  • 0

    madmel

    Well it's about time Japan entered the early 90's....my first trip to Japan 10 years ago was soooooo gross as all the wonderful restaurants and coffee houses where always full of wretched smoke. No eating or drinking establishment give a shit about the non smoker so the laws are leveling the playing field since no one would take the initiative....now why is there not as many over regulations regarding child restraints in cars!?

  • -1

    JapanLife100

    The author of this story, Andrew Miller, is either a smoker with an agenda or someone woefully uninformed.

    An independent review of the data commissioned by the Japanese Ministry of Health estimates the number of innocent non-smokers dying in Japan each year from second-hand smoke to be in the thousands.

    This data is inline with the internationally respected conclusions of the World Health Organization after reviewing the abundant data concerning deaths from second-hand smoke throughout the world.

    If the death of thousands of innocent people every year in Japan and the dramatic negative health consequences affecting millions here in Japan are not issues worthy of escalation and action by Japan, what is worthy of escalation and action?

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