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Smoking in Japan


25 Jun 2002
I've been wondering this for quite a while lately. How is smoking viewed in Japan? I was browsing http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=popvox&id=270, and it seems that in Japan, children/teens aren't taught the harmful effects of smoking and tobacco as well as they are in America. If you view the first comment made by Hoshio Koizumi, he states, "I don't think underage drinking is a problem. However, I don't think we should smoke until we're over 20 since smoking is harmful to younger people." Smoking isn't just bad for younger people. It isn't nice for everyone. Asuka Okamoto claims, "I don't want to see any regulations because I have been smoking and drinking since I was a teenager. My friends actually got me started on drink and tobacco. I had no trouble at all, buying them from vending machines and even convenience stores. Shop assistants never asked me once if I was underage. I can see the point of view of those who wish to check the age of the person buying alcohol or cigarettes, but it will definitely bother adults as well." This gives the impression that in Japan, laws about underage smoking are easily ignored, and offenders aren't punished severely enough. Are there any anti-smoking campaigns out there? This looks to be a serious problem in Japan that something needs to be done about.
Interesting discussion at JT. The following seems to be true:

Do you think that alcoholic drinks and cigarettes are too easily obtainable in Japan?
Jedi Pimp (Jul 18 2002 - 11:20)

I think the early the better for the Japanese. Westerners on average seem to start partying sooner than Japanese which is very evident every Wedneday-Saturday night. I for one stopped acting like a drunk-puking idiot in public back in college. What these people need is some kind of drinking in public class in high school.
It's tragic that booze has such an important social function in Japan.

As for smoking, here's a related site:

Anti Smoke Site

Yes, that is tragic thomas. I'm happy to see at least ONE anti-tobacco usage site, though!

I wish Japan would learn. What about the pregnant ladies? It seems in a country like Japan they would have courtesy not to smoke because of pregnant women. I know they know the harmful effects of smoking + pregnant women. Oh well... I guess I'll have to get used to the smell of smoke before I go there.
Have you gone to truth.com?
this is another anti-smoking site with comercials all over the television...at least here in MI they are.

How can you not be used to the smell? Smoking is very common here in the states...dwindling in popularity though. Most people who have grown up here in the 30's through 80's smokes...or has quite.
JT (Japan Tobacco) is pretty huge. They do salt and other commodities too.
Of course, they run thier duty commercials on TV to be decent smokers and too not smoke every where.

English Teachers (at least in high school) smoke a lot .... I do too.

Sapporo, has probably highest rate of women smokers in Japan.

One part of Tokyo I believe it was has initiated no smoking while walking. Too many folks were getting burned, I think was the reasoning.

I'd say Japan is smoking heaven. Although, local trains banned smoking about 9 years ago. Long distance ones have smoking and non-smoking cars.

resturants are retarded and put the non-smoking area in the middle of the smoking areas or off to a bad corner. hmmm ... I think Starbucks banned smoking, not sure ... haven't been there yet.

If smoking was banned in bars like in the States Japan's economy would collapse.

Although, things have gotten better over the last 10 years. Vending machines actually shut off after 10pm and convenience stores located within a certain distance of schools no longer sell tobacco. Many public offices and companies have slowly eliminated smoking at workers desks and set up smoking areas with filters and what not (I wish more of this happen though, smokers should not have free reign of any room).

hmm, another thing I've been pretty harsh on for a while. Anybody can basically buy beer anywhere. Here again, if the legal age was enforced, I'd say about 70% of the drinking districts would go under which would create a chain reaction in the Real Estate and alcholic beverage market. Although, probably the actual amount consumed at bars and such is still negigable since many folks like to drink with dinner.

Still though, 16,17,18 year olds shouldn't really be drinking in town. I'm old house here and think that 19 is pretty reasonable. It was 19 for me until I got 19 then it changed to 21 .... that really sucked!

now, high school parties ... hehe ... find somebody's parents who'd prefer you drink at home than out on some street. I did ... pretty cool setup. The parents bought, took their share and we, well ... got drunk ... they even offered to take us home if things ever got too far.

oh well, Japan is interesting to say the least.

Every since I came
Yes, I've seen the Truth commercials. I love those things. They need to start doing them in a crowded Tokyo street. I'm sure they would have some effect. I'd LOVE to see that.

I'm not used to cigarette smoke, and nobody has to be. Around here, people don't smoke everywhere. Actually, now that I think about it, smokers are the minority here. Most of the smokers I can think of are the Asian kids at my school, and they're mostly trying to quit (but usually fail). I never go to a store and see people smoking. Never. I hardly even see somebody smoking on the street. I guess it's just controlled here. So to me, smoking in America isn't as bad as it is in Japan. I guess I'll have a shorter life when I go there if I have to breathe in all that smoke air. I like that commercial that goes something like this:

Smoker sitting on a chair: "I can't live without my cigarettes."
A guy in the hospital with stuff attached to him: "I can't live without my oxygen."
-there's more in between but I forgot some of it-
Shows a man sitting in a chair smiling and smoking
Smoker: "I ... just can't stop" shrugs
Cuts to a room with a patient on the operating table
Doctor looking at charts of lungs: "I can't operate."

Now that commercial caught my attention. Then, the whole hospital atmosphere was the way the smokers were acting like they didn't care saying "I can't stop." Haha, wait until that happens to you. I don't have sympathy for smokers in that situation, especially ones that don't care.

They need to show stuff like that more often. Not that teen bs where the kids are like "we don't need to smoke to be cool." Nobody looks at those. It's when the shocking commercials come on that make you stop and go wow like the lady with the hole in her throat. That commercial worked. They should show that in Japan but show it with kids for an extra effect. Like some schoolgirl with a hole in her throat and another with cigarette burns from getting bumped into by a smoker. Like a cigarette burn on her eye that made a hole or something nasty like that. At least it would get people talking. : T

If it was up to me and I was running things in Japan (this is just a fantasy), I'd show commercials like that for a while and give people a period to quit, then if they didn't stop I'd make every indoor area non-smoking. I'd confine smoking to designated areas where dozens of people would have to smoke simultaneously. I'd also slap an impossible fine to pay (something that would take 4 or 5 years to pay off) on people who were caught smoking indoors. If they can see the commercials and not care about their health or others' health, they don't deserve to use facilities like other people who do care. Come to think of it. I wouldn't designate an area to smoke. I'd flat out tell people they better quit and set up programs to help them and if they're caught smoking they get that fine. If they don't pay, jail for 30 years and I mean business. No ways out. If you have a cigarette in your mouth, jail. No questions asked. : T See how many people would follow the rules then, mostly after you've made a few examples out of some people. You have to be outrageous about it to get results. These little slaps on the hand don't do anything.

I'd also make a commercial showing babies that were affected by cigarette smoke and make the commercial blame everyone who's ever smoked in front of a woman without being concerned if she was pregnant or not. Maybe some people would change their ways then. And in my opinion, anyone trying to defend against smoking seriously needs to re-evaluate their priorities. : T You can't win.

Anti-Smoking commercials they don't want you to see:

I agree with you Mavurik. I personally cannot stand being around cigarette smoke. They do need to start being more agressive about the problem.
I like your idea of using high school kids as commercial consultants, Mavurik.

The only problem I can see is that 1.) men working in Tokyo are under lot's of stress and kicking back home isn't really an option. 2.) Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world with lung cancer being deficient. Possibly the smokers are the one's who keep the expectancy rate lower than it could be. I see 80-year-olds puffing away a lot.


But definitely, if commercials are to target young adults, then young adults should be the ones who comment on them.
I smoke...and I know the dangers and affects.

Personally, kids should have to see the affects of what it does to people...nasty.
I smoke one cigarette per day after dinner. That probably doesn't make me a heavy smoker. I don't think that anyone who consumes more than 3 cigarettes per day is still able to "enjoy" smoking, it becomes a mere habit or addiction.

Since my wife lives in Europe her cigarette consumption dropped to 1-3 cigarettes per day too.
Smoking is an individual choice and its not a very difficult choice to make, either you smoke, or you don't!!:)

I think too much emphasis is placed on a smoker to leave a room or stub out a cigarette if it makes someone uncomfortable, why does the smoker have to leave at all? it's not the smoker who's uncomfortable! (lolol) :p
hey Debs you smoke?

Since my wife became pregnant she quite smoking (errr, far as I know .... I'm hoping that's for sure.)

I've stopped smoking in the house all together and immediately noticed the effect. My 2 monitors are cleaner, my mouse isn't full of grit any more, my computer's fan no longer makes weird noises. Too bad that my cables are all greasy brown now.

I smoke on the balcony or somewhere I can't be seen by the wife. I'm hoping/planning on cutting back much more when the baby's born. Hopefully, quit. I don't want the wife to start up again. Too many of her friends who have kids carry their children in one arm and in the other hand a cigarette. Just too dangerous (not counting the health effects).

Japan is pretty close to Debs idea. If you're in someones home who smokes the non-smoker is the one who must make the choice. Yet, if the home is a non-smokers it's up to the non-smoker to hand out an ash tray or not.

ughh, why did I start smoking in the first place ???? stupid stupid
@ moyashi and only moyashi (lolol I'm afraid to post hehe)😌

Yes, I smoke, and to my shame, I smoke quite a lot! If I could cut it down quickly, I would only be too happy to do so. Still, I find it extremely difficult and as I have been smoking since the age of 14 its almost my right too smoke(silly I know) but that's the way it is for me, my husband hates smoking (with a passion), so during my pregnancy, it was dramatically reduced, and when the child was physically present, smoking in the same room was a definite "NO NO" I wanted the children to have clean, fresh air for as long as it was possible(to give them a good start in live).
Although I smoke quite often, I would never light up a cigarette in a company without asking if anyone had asthma or a breathing condition, to be polite and be aware of my so-called harmful smoke, if this were the case, without a second thought I would leave the company if I desired a cigarette, but I do utterly hate the so-called "reformed smoker" who smells smoke and at once asks the smoker to stub out or leave a room, that only makes me defiant and say "why?" lolol :eek:

I know the effects and all the side effects(apparently) of the passive smoker, which is why I try my best to be patient and understand when in a company or my home with non-smokers. 🙂
Nothing new, but let's reiterate:

62% of pregnant women are passive smoking victims

About 62% of pregnant women in Japan are under threat from passive cigarette smoking, health ministry sources said Friday. Of 16,528 pregnant women who responded to a survey by the National Institute of Public Health, 10,268 said someone smokes near them every day, the sources said. The institute is an affiliate of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. The women said about 82% of these smokers are their husbands. The rest included other family members, friends and work colleagues, the sources said, referring to the results of the survey. The institute polled 16,528 pregnant women at 260 hospitals in all 47 prefectures nationwide in February, the sources said. It is the largest survey ever on pregnant women regarding smoking. Asked how they protect themselves from smoke, more than 50% of the pregnant women said they move away from smokers and care about ventilation. The majority of the women said they also ask smokers not to light up near them. But only about 14% said they suggest smokers quit smoking. The survey also found that about 10% of pregnant women smoke. Among the pregnant women who smoke, nine out of 10 continue smoking knowing it hurts their unborn baby, the survey found. "Babies cannot pick their parents, " said Takashi Oida, a former general manager of the institute who compiled the survey. "Considering the health of babies, not to mention of the women smoking, husbands should quit smoking while their wives are pregnant." "Public administration and medical institutions should play more active roles in discussing the evils of cigarettes," Oida said. A report compiled by the ministry last year noted pregnant women's passive smoking makes the likelihood of a miscarriage high.

My father used to smoke 2 cartons a week. Now, he tries to lynch me whenever he sees me. hypocrit ... sorry I know he's right but he's going about it the wrong way.

smoking is bad, but smokers should still be given their own area.

2nd hand smoke aparently is the worst.
it takes 15 years for the lungs to clear up 90%+
nicotine can be kicked in 3 days, while the habit is either fingers or mouth. I'm a finger type so plastic cigarettes won't work nor will gum.

hmmmm ....
I've tried them all, and my best at relieving the craving or the want of a cigarette was the patches, they were great!! but I failed on that too, only due to my need to have my hands active:mad:

I will someday try once again to kick the nasty habit, and the patches will be the cure for me.🙂

@ passive smoking, I agree that it's supposed to be worst of the two evils, an actual smoker is apparently(so I've heard) better at keeping those nasty gems of cases of flu and colds (and others) at bay because as we inhale the germ is passed to the lung and exhaled directly back out again. Hence, the low passive smoker gets it doubled, they inhale our smoke and our germ: sorry: :sorry: : sad:
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I wish you luck debs and everyone else who is trying to quit! Stay in there.
ohhh, me debs have the same problem.
You twirl pens too?

MY father cleared the 3 day nicotine fit when he was sick. They remaining part was to break the habit.

oh well, I'm gonna enjoy my drags until the baby comes .... then ... ??? .... hoping.
It's good to see how considerate everyone on this forum is, whether smoker or not. :)

Moyashi-san, I hope you will have a healthy and beautiful baby!
And to everyone trying to quit: ganbatte! I heard from someone that after a period of not smoking, they felt much more energetic.
So hey, it's not impossible!

I'm a non-smoker, but I don't mind the smoke much. It actually depends; sometimes I'm bothered (if it's blown into my face!) and sometimes I'm not. My dad's a smoker (he took up the habit in his 30s), but my mom's not. Luckily, dad smokes only in the balcony, so our apartment is smoke-free.

Many people in my country (Romania) are smokers, including young people. So I think it's a matter of personal choice. I never started smoking because I had no reason, and besides I disliked the smell of cigarettes. And the way I see it, there are many disadvantages and almost no advantage (I can understand the addiction factor, but that comes in *after* you start smoking).

I had an English teacher in Ro in whose apartment I'd have private English lessons, and she used to smoke a lot during the sessions! (She was almost a chain-smoker.) I really didn't like it, and my clothes and hair would always get that cigarette smell I hated (especially on me! LOL). Her apartment had the same smell, and the prof had stained fingers and teeth and - well, overall, that made me aware of the many cons of smoking!

Women who smoke should definitely quit during pregnancy, and hopefully quit for good. ;)
I quit smoking 2 years ago. i was up to 3 packages a day and then one day, i suddenly thought, well, what the f**k are you doing here? and i just stopped the next day. i didn't even want to smoke till that day:ramen:
i stick to ramen now. just kidding. i started sports and feel much better now
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