No Smoking in Japan! What?

Dec 12th, 2008 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Lifestyle

Smorking or Smoking in JapanIf you are a smoker and thought that Japan would be a haven from anti-smoking rules and regulations around the world then think again!  While the smoking rate in Japan is one of the highest in the industrialized world, with about 40% of the male population and 26% of total population lighting up, restrictions on smokers and awareness of health issues surrounding smoking is on the increase.

Some things to know if you are a smoker visiting or moving to Japan:

  • Smoking is banned in many public facilities.
  • Smoking while walking is frowned upon and cause for citation some areas – look for designated smoking areas near train stations, on street corners or near building entrances. The ashtray pictured on the left was found in a “Smorking Area” in the Shibuya area of Tokyo.
  • You need to be over 20 to purchase tobacco products in Japan.
  • You need a TASPO ID Card to purchase tobacco from vending machines in Japan.  If you don’t have one you will need to find a convenience store to purchase your cigarettes.
  • Many taxi’s ban customers from smoking in their cabs.
  • Although they are not as common as they used to be many train station platforms have designated smoking areas but that is about to change.  Starting April 1, 2009 (and this is not an early April Fool’s joke) smoking will be banned at 226 stations along 17 major lines of East Japan Railway Co. – the ban will cover all stations within a radius of between 30 and 50 kilometers from Tokyo Station, including the Yamanote and Chuo lines. (Source: Asahi Shimbun, JR Stations to be smoke free)

If you are a non-smoker visiting or moving to Japan you will be happy to know that there is no smoking permitted on public transportation and that many restaurants have non-smoking areas but unfortunately they are usually small and not well ventilated.

Smoking manners posters can be found almost everywhere, are translated into English, and are meant to remind smokers of the effects to those around them when they light up.

Image Credit:  Personal Collection

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  1. I don’t smoke, but I don’t understand why JR feels the need to remove it’s designated smoking areas. After all, they are exactly that, designated smoking areas. They’re away from non-smokers, away from anything burnable, and outside in the open air! It’s not a crime to pass wind, quietly at the end of a platform, so why is this any different? Smokers don’t need JR to protect their health, and it’s laughable for anyone to suggest this is a measure to cut CO2 and stop global warming climate change. :roll:

  2. Japan Turning Smoke Free…

    Despite its high smoking rates, Japan is steadily clamping down on smoking. Companies are banning smoking left, right and center, and JR will remove all its ashtrays from April 1, 2009. Are you for or against smoking in public?…

  3. Some people will not be happy until everyone`s actions and movements are controlled and regulated. It is a real shame.

  4. While I wouldn’t want to stop anyone smoking, I’d be happy if I could get through each day without having my actions and movements controlled by smokers, because let’s face it: cigarettes stink; and at the moment I would prefer to take extra (literal) steps to avoid smokers on station platforms, walking ahead of me in the street, and in places like cafes and restaurants etc. etc. than be forced to breath in their tarry smoke and possibly have it sticking in my clothing and hair for the rest of the day.

    As far as the designated smoking areas on JR platforms: they’re often on a part of a platform where trains stop, so non-smokers are forced passed them anyway.

  5. Nick, the smoking areas don’t work! Takadanobaba Station for example has it’s area upwind so all the smoke hots EVERYONE else on the platform. The Shibuya smoking area is a joke as everyone walking up the steps from Hachiko Exit can smell it.

    This is the best news I’ve heard all day and is a LONG time coming!!!

  6. Oh no! Here comes the smelling smoke is gonna kill me gang.

  7. Freedomwv, have you ever heard of second hand smoke? It’s a killer.

    JR platforms need to be completely smoke free. While the train opens its doors in front of a smoking area, the smoke just flows into the train.

    Smokers should have NO rights.

  8. In my experience, most of the smoking areas are at the end of the JR Station platforms and can be avoided and I’ve never been on a train where the smoke wafted in. I’m all for the no walking and smoking rules and designated public smoking areas.

    Smokers need to be considerate of those around them and I believe that it’s better to have designated smoking areas than the way it was in the past where people smoked wherever and whenever they wanted.

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