27 July, 2017

Only partial restriction on smoking in Japan

Japanese restaurants and cafes often are not smoke-free. These days many of them have smoking areas, but they aren't sealed off from the rest of the restaurant. There was a push to have that changed by 2020 when the Olympics come to Tokyo, but it seems that it's not going to happen due to political pressure. 

The article says:
The ministry estimates that about 15,000 people die annually in Japan from passive smoking, which is known to cause heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. With no law to ban public smoking, Japan was among the countries in the lowest-graded group out of four in the World Health Organization’s 2015 report on the global tobacco epidemic.
After the WHO and the International Olympic Committee agreed in 2010 to promote tobacco-free Olympic Games, all countries hosting the Olympics have implemented anti-tobacco regulations that include punishment, according to the ministry.
Smokers still make up a big percentage of the community. In 2009 the rate was 25% of adults! (Wikipedia citing data from the OECD Health Data) Compared to around 13% of Australians over the age of 13 (from here).

Wikipedia verifies our experience by saying this about Japan:
Cigarettes can be bought in tobacco stores and at vending machines, and public ashtrays dot sidewalks and train platforms. The number of cigarette vending machines in Japan is estimated at 500,000 in 2002.
Now I'm not saying that Australia is the perfect place to live and Japan the opposite, but it does seem that in the area of smoking, Japan is a less healthy place to live.

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