Breaking the rules

Breaking the rules
PHOTO BY MARK BUCKTON

Smokers disregard a no-smoking area sign at Totsuka Station in Kanagawa Prefecture on Wednesday.

  • 8

    Wakarimasen

    Rebels with a cause? More likely the typical local tendency to ignore this type of thing because of poor enforcement.

  • 26

    gokai_wo_maneku

    Smokers do not care about their own health. Why do you think that they will care about the health of other people?

  • 4

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Some stations in Kanagawa are actually patrolled by antismoking wardens.

    The two to the right probably think it's OK because someone else is doing it.

    I challenged someone for smoking on a busy platform recently. When he calmly walked and squared up to me, everyone near me discovered they had really fascinating feet.

  • 4

    Magnet

    Think this is bad? Come to Sydney, where people smoke everywhere, even right outside the airport in areas lined with "no smoking" signs, even ones with pretty hefty fines! Bloody smokers...

  • 13

    YongYang

    Look at all the butts on the floor! Disgusting addiction.

  • 10

    Tony Alderman

    Typical selfish smokers; polluting the air.

  • 2

    Daniel Neagari

    At least I hope they are listening Judas Priest while they are smoking there....

  • 1

    some14some

    Valued Customers of JT & BOJ !

  • 3

    papigiulio

    This happens all to often imo. Need some wardens to enforce these rules. We are talking about a serious health risk.

  • -14

    CGB Spender

    It's disgusting to see how smokers are forced into small smoking areas or rooms like catlle. Nice here to see people who have value for freedom to rebel against it. Smokers are proven to be risk-takers more so than non-smokers. A smoker is likely to risk his own life for the rescue of others than a non-smoker.

  • 1

    wtfjapan

    Look at all the butts on the floor! Disgusting addiction not nearly as disgusting as the inside of your lungs. there was a sayinga while ago that said if you could see the inside of you lungs on the outside would you still smoke!? I doubt it

  • 2

    375sensei

    If the rules are perceived to be petty, often due to a lack of regular enforcement or peer pressure (take the bicycles rules as another example), then people will just completely ignore them. The "gray" area that pervades many aspects of life in Japan further contributes to this.

  • 6

    cleo

    It's disgusting to see how smokers are forced into small smoking areas or rooms like cattle.

    No one is forcing them anywhere. They can go anywhere they like, so long as they don't light up their nasty little carcinogenic dummies.

    A smoker is likely to risk his own life for the rescue of others than a non-smoker.

    He's already risking his own life and the lives/health of others through his nasty, filthy, stupid habit.

  • 1

    M3M3M3

    A smoker is likely to risk his own life for the rescue of others than a non-smoker.

    It's probably statistically true because the smoker is more likely to have caused the fire that necessitated the rescue.

  • 1

    syzyguy

    i've heard some economists posit that smokers are better for the economy, seeing as how they tend to die sooner and as a result cost the state less in pensions, medical check ups and end of life care compared to a non-smoker

    if that's true... then we should be thanking these smokers for reducing the burden on an already overstretched system

  • 0

    Wakarimasen

    If people want to smoke i think they should be allowed to. and of course many people who smoke knows what it does to their lungs but prefer to smoke than worry about it. anyway, what's so great about having the last 2 or 3 years of a long life?

  • -2

    Frankie Wilde

    At least these people have put their lungs to good use before they die and have helped to support a myriad of businesses, contributed to the advancement of scientific knowledge and paid a serious amount of money in tax for their habit over the years! And yes, many will die younger than non smokers reducing the burden on the state.

  • -2

    BertieWooster

    I don't smoke, but I don't see why these people shouldn't be allowed to smoke in the open air if they want to.

    I mean, who are they inconveniencing?

    As for annoying smells, I wonder why more people don't complain about perfume.

    It can be more obnoxious than tobacco smoke in a confined space.

    A little perfume tastefully applied can be nice, but there are people who marinate in it!

  • 1

    M3M3M3

    i've heard some economists posit that smokers are better for the economy

    I've heard this also and I think it's probably true.

    But I think the the arguements against smoking run much deeper and are rarely articulated. Today, we don't tolerate slavery, indentured servitude or child labour even if the victims insist that they voluntarily consent. We say that these victims can't possibly give their informed consent because they're being exploited under duress. Similarly with smoking, we simply can't accept it as a truly voluntary choice because it's addictive and self destructive. So we as non-smokers feel we have the moral authority to save smokers from themselves even if it seems that we are restricting some of their personal freedoms.

  • 1

    Wakarimasen

    M3. too much restricting of personal freedoms goes on these days. to me what is ironic is that just as the world is allowing more and more freedom around smoking marijuana it is tightening up on smoking tobacco. the point being that in the arena of "restricting personal freedoms" there is an awful lot of double standards and hypocrisy and it tends to be the best organised or loudest lobbyists who win the day - the South Park episode on this (Butt Out) makes the point about anti smoking movement in the US very well.

  • 4

    Garthgoyle

    I'm not smoker and it really pisses me off that anywhere I go there are smokers and when I come out of the place, my clothes smell really nasty due to the them. Now, that's indoors. I don't see any problem with them smoking outside. Where I see the problem in those smoking outside is all those cigarettes butts on the floor. Totally selfish and disgusting thing to do.

  • 2

    zteano

    Maybe this area used to be designated smoking area that just got changed recently. The one at my nearby station got eliminated but many still smoke there while throwing the butts on the ground since there's no more ashtray.

  • 0

    kurisupisu

    Unfortunately,the nicotine in the tobacco is one of the most addictive substances in the world- I feel sorry for these 'addicts'

  • -2

    Cricky

    They pay tax?so the problem is where can they use there dollar?

  • 1

    Kanade

    Had a quarrel about this with my smoking colleagues today. They just don't get what's so wrong about smoking, because like my coworker says, the air we inhale is a lot more polluted than the smoke, therefore it's blasphemy. I strongly disagree. I hope regulations on smoking will be strict.

  • -3

    StormR

    If these smokers had a suitable area to smoke in then they wouldn't be standing right where they are smoking would they.

    Some people choose to smoke, its their right, those who want the world their way need to make allowances for others, so make space for the smokers or you get the rebels who couldn't care less about your petty signs.

    By the way and for the record I do not smoke.

    Get tired of the PC brigade wanting the world to be what they want it to be and bugger the rights and wants of others.

  • -5

    smithinjapan

    Sorry, but 'breaking the rules' would be ACTUALLY following them, since it's more the norm not to with smoking.

  • 1

    Kenny76

    I would put the bin there for them bad butts :)..

  • -1

    It"S ME

    I like my town. A few years ago they started to go after people throwing CIG butts, now forbidden enforced across the town.

    This marched they closed all the public smoking manner points. Smoking has been forbidden around stations, bus stops and shopping areas for a few years now.

    Most people have adjusted and we got few violators but there will always people ignoring the rules, whatever they might be.

  • 1

    Raymond Chuang

    In Japan, many larger JR railway stations strictly ban smoking unless in designated smoking rooms--I've seen pictures of such rooms at Omiya and Tokyo Stations. Indeed, the only places you can smoke on a train nowadays are small smoking rooms found on the Shinkansen trains traveling the Tokaido and San'yo Shinkansen lines. As such, scenes like this photo are not exactly common at larger JR stations.

  • 4

    presto345

    Since childhood I've always wondered why smokers think public roads are their dump for the filthy butts. Looks like littering to me. I've met a few smokers in Japan who carried their own pocket ashtrays. But those are few and far between. In public places one can do as one likes, is the idea which was discussed previously. The roads, parks, stations, you name it, are really convenient conveniences to dump trash, be it tobacco products, containers of all sorts, paper, bento leftovers, etc. Not getting serious about enforcing laws prohibiting littering, and a whole lot of other offenses, is endemic and classifies the country in a recognizable category.

  • 2

    jerseyboy

    so make space for the smokers or you get the rebels who couldn't care less about your petty signs

    StormR -- nonsense. The negative health effects of second-hand smoke are well documented so there is no reason why society has to "make space" for those that want to kill themeselves and potentially others. Have you ever bothered to look and see how much lung cancer costs the Japanese health-care system each year -- which ALL people, smokers and non-smokers pay for? Second, calling them "rebels" is laughable. They are simply lazy, arrogant clods. And, there is nothing "petty" about the signs. The signs are designed to allow non-smokers, like say a pregnant woman who wants to sit outside for a while, and chance to do so without their rights being infringed on.

  • 3

    Robert Rÿker

    Years ago, when I was at Indiana University as a young music student, our conductor escorted a group of brass players over to the Medical Department, where he had a friend who was a Professor of Anatomy. The kind professor was gracious enough to pull open the drawers of a cadaver and show us the inner anatomy of a human being (dead, of course). Wind players rely on efficient use of the chest and diaphragm for breath to play their instruments well, and it was really interesting. You may not have guessed yet where I am going with this little vignette. The kind professor then walked over to pull open the drawer of another cadaver so we could see the insides of another chest cavity. "Now this fellow," he said, "smoked two packs a day," and he rapped his knuckles on the membrane of the lungs. The lungs were coal black and bone solid, and the rap of his knuckles sounded like a xylophone. None of us even smoked again.

  • 2

    Patricia Yarrow

    I go through this Totsuka area every week for years and there is a SMOKING AREA just a bit further away from this spot. I have politely asked many times that smokers go there instead of this spot, where people must pass them by and inhale their cancer clouds. Frankly, I wish the entire plaza was nonsmoking. What right do these addicts have to inflict their addiction on others just trying to get to work from the station?

  • 5

    Christopher Smith

    I’m so, so, sick and tired of seeing filthy cigarette butts lying around. I’m sorry, but in my opinion many people who smoke are completely ignorant of the environment and people around them. The sooner Japan brings into place heavier restrictions, the better.

  • 3

    CrazyJoe

    Your right to smoke ends where my nose begins.

  • 2

    Cliffy

    Don't like smoke and also do not like strong perfume (if anyone could smell the perfume from 3 feet away, then it is too much to mask off the person's BO). My nose is way too sensitive for those.

    Just put them into a air-tight room and have them smoke all they want.

  • 2

    rockportfc

    @gokaiwomaneku

    Way to go, generalising a whole group of people.

    As an ex-smoker (I quit about 18 months ago, after 7 years of on and off smoking, best decision ever) I agree that it is a dirty, killer habit and people who do not smoke have a right to clean air. I always went out of my way to smoke where no one was.

    I also believe that if people want to smoke they should have a place to smoke. That is obviously not the place pictured above.... I do agree there needs to be stricter enforcement. Having said that, imho, apart from nightlife, whole smoke-free areas such as Midosuji road in Osaka, generally tend to be smoke-free.

  • 1

    boweevil

    Smoking is a terrible addiction that is extremely difficult to quit. So there need to be places for people to smoke. If the governments of the world banned tabacco that would be the end of it. But governments get huge revenues from taxing it. So if their going to benefit from the tax, then they should make sure people have enough places to smoke.

    That said, if a sign clearly says no-smoking then people shouldnt be smoking.

    The health benefits, and in turn the resulting economic benefits of banning the sale of cigarettes would more than make up for any revenues lost in tabacco tax. I smoke. I don't want to smoke, but it is a strong addiction. If cigarettes were simply removed from the equation, myself, and millions like me would be forced to stop.

  • 0

    StormR

    Jerseyboy its not nonsense at all, why does the pregnant woman need to sit right where smokers are when there is literally 100s of square meters that no one is smoking in.

    Everyone has rights and the right to choose to smoke like it or not is one of them, if proper smoking facillitys were available conveniently then they should be used.

    I know some of you think everyone is a conformist but shock horror some people find petty rules just simply that, petty, made up by those who oppose someone elses behaviour, just look at the petty mayor of that beach down the coast.

    Do you never ever break any rules?

    I hate the smell of smoke and dread walking past the smoking area, but also understand people choose to smoke, atleast I don't have to stand or sit there and smell it , I can walk away. again free to choose.

    I would like to see smoking barred from pubs eating houses and bars though for sure.

    I used to smoke for 45 years and upto 4 packs a day, quit a few years ago thankfully, I know most other smokers would like to be able to but usually lack the fortitude.

  • 0

    CruisinJapan

    Just to raise a similar point, I recently had noticed that my university in Hyogo recently put up a sign that said "no smoking" in a place where students usually smoke. It's right near a door which opens up to a lot of classrooms.

    Since students continued to smoke, the school put up an ashtray to throw away used cigarettes... right next to the sign that says "no smoking".

    Finally, I complained to the office and said "It makes no sense to put an ashtray in a no-smoking area, please get rid of the ashtray"

    Instead, the school got rid of the no-smoking sign, and students are smoking right in front of the entrance to a building which only has classrooms. And so the halls and classrooms smell like cigarette smoke during class.

    I went back to the office to complain, and the office staff told me "Japan and America have different cultures of smoking" and that was the end of it.

    Just like Wakarimasen said, it's all about poor enforcement in this country, and that's all.

  • 2

    MarkG

    I hate cigarette smoke! I avoid it whenever possible. The litter has always bothered me also. Especially at a red traffic signal you see the car in front of your own empty the ashtray on the street! Disgracefully discusting!

  • 3

    scipantheist

    I have no problem if they smoke in their own little hovels, but don't bring that nastiness out into the public.

  • 2

    Ninjazilla

    There should be fines for this kind of disregard. I'm sure there are fines for it already in some places in Japan depending on the place.

  • 1

    Kabukilover

    Typical. These creeps have effectively chased the non smokers away.

  • 0

    Fandango Spoonmonkey

    I don't smoke. So, anyway. When they started banning smoking on the street a few years ago, I couldn't help but think it was drive designed to push people into cafes and bars, where they will most likely spend money. Oh, and smoke, presumably.

  • -1

    Kurobune

    @Crazy Joe 10:00 PM JST - RIGHT ON ! ! ! Succinct and to the point ! Thank you very much !

  • 0

    jerseyboy

    Jerseyboy its not nonsense at all, why does the pregnant woman need to sit right where smokers are when there is literally 100s of square meters that no one is smoking in.

    StormR -- it is nonsense to say these guys' rights trump that of a pregnant woman, when the signs specifically say NO SMOKING. Doesn't matter if there is other space available to her or not, this space is supposed to be.

    Everyone has rights and the right to choose to smoke like it or not is one of them, if proper smoking facillitys were available conveniently then they should be used

    Agreed, but they DO NOT have the right to smoke in an area that has been designated for non-smokers when there are places provided for them.

  • 3

    Serrano

    It's stupid to forbid people from smoking outside whilst allowing people to smoke in restaurants.

  • -2

    Patricia Yarrow

    Serrano,

    You are right. Smoking should not be allowed inside anywhere, and in all public spaces. Smoking should be allowed only in airtight contained glass boxes. Seems to be the only thing that works.

  • 1

    Fox Sora Winters

    Eh? From the picture it looks like they're in an open air environment. There are no-smoking areas outdoors as well now? That's absurd! Indoors I can understand, but outside? Where there's plenty of fresh air and wind? That makes no sense.

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    Raymond: "In Japan, many larger JR railway stations strictly ban smoking unless in designated smoking rooms--I've seen pictures of such rooms at Omiya and Tokyo Stations."

    Smoking is banned in many places. The problem is a complete lack of enforcement.

  • 2

    StormR

    Sign was erected obviously by a non smoker, enforce your will on others mentality.

    The pregnant woman doesnt need to be right where the smokers are jerseyboy but i know a policeman's mentality would have it other wise.

    Smoking is unhealthy and causes cancer, so what , so does going out in the sun without sunscreen, where are all the sun screen police ?

    As for the argument about smokers costing the tax payers for health care that is flawed coz the smokers are taxed 10 fold for their habit and die ealrier, thus contributing more than their fair share to the medical budget.

    Buying goods transported to the supermarket by truck is also a health concern because of the pollution it creates, doesnt stop you from shopping does it >? for crying out loud get real.

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