• May 26, 2024

Olympic ban on the cards

 Olympic ban on the cards

Photo by eerkmans

Smoking in Japan photo
Photo by eerkmans

Japan’s health minister said on Friday that the elimination of second-hand cigarette smoke was the government’s “mission”, and pledged to make efforts to curb public smoking ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Speaking at a news conference, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki said other host countries had adopted smoking regulations and penalties in recent years.

Reducing cigarette smoke was “a big trend across the world”.

The health ministry hopes to submit a bill to revise the Health Promotion Law and potentially ban smoking in all indoor public spaces.

In its Tobacco White Paper released last year, the ministry acknowledged that second-hand smoke raised the risk of lung cancer.

But on Thursday, restaurant industry groups voiced opposition to banning smoking in restaurants and argued that Japan should aim to become a leading country in promoting separate smoking areas.

Shiozaki shrugged them off, saying it was important to protect people from second-hand smoke with an eye to increasing visitors to Japan.

The White Paper said setting up sealed smoking rooms did not prevent cigarette smoke from leaking into areas occupied by non-smokers.

And employees tasked with cleaning up those rooms were affected.