No smoking law; public says not just for Olympics, not just for Tokyo

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With Tokyo Olympics coming up, one of the hot topics is that the International Olympic Committee and the WHO have agreed that they should promote a smoke-free Olympics, in order to protect against second-hand smoke, but with Japan being a bit of a smokers’ paradise and with the government owning a third of Japan Tobacco, they are a bit lagging on things. However, recently a bill has been introduced that would require all restuarants over 30 square metres to go non-smoking. To see what the public thought of this, Intage Research conducted a survey into going non-smoking.

Despite extensive advert campaigns like the one pictured below, Japan Tobacco seems to have failed to convince the general public that the problem of smoking is not disease but manner issues like litter. Furthermore, Japan must be about the only country with more restrictions on outdoor smoking – for instance many major train stations ban smoking within a radius of a kilometre or so – versus indoor – basically no restrictions in restaurants. I remember my first experience in Japan many years ago; they asked “Smoking or Non-Smoking?”, we said “Non”, so they lifted the ashtray off the table. Things have got better now, but not much…

Anti-smoking ads

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Over 85% of non-smokers try to avoid smoky places

Will you sit in smoking areas? graph of japanese statistics
A hot topic in Japan, and the subject of bills currently being drafted in response to the requirement from the IOC for the Olympic host city to be smoke-free, is smoking and non-smoking, the subject of a survey by IRRC and their Hoken Clinic insurance sales shops.

The current proposal is to make every eating and drinking establishment over 30 square metres either all non-smoking or to have a walled-off smoking area.

The current situation is such that I basically do not go out to eat anywhere other than shopping malls and department store restaurant floors as places there are either smoke-free or clearly labelled as smoking, so I know where to avoid. It annoys me greatly that all the news coverage has shop-owners moaning about losing business, yet in the rest of the world smoking bans have led overall to more customers, but such an opinion is never touched upon.

Unfortunately, when we have work dos, despite no-one in our team choosing to smoke, it is invariably a smoking restuarant we end up in.
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One in four want all smoking areas done away with

Men, how often do you smoke tobacco? graph of japanese statisticsA recent survey conducted by Hoken (Insurance) Clinic, timed for World No-Smoking Day, looked at smoking and non-smoking.

Demographics

Between the 28th and 30th of April 2015 500 people between the ages of 20 and 60 completed a web-based questionnaire. No further demographic information was provided.

I don’t know how good the sample selection was, but although the smoker percentage looks similar to other figures I have seen, the ex-smoker figure seems very, very high.

With talk of banning smoking throughout Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, looking at the figures here would suggest that there might only be the will to ban for the duration of the Olympics, not permanently.
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Only a minority want smoking banned in cafes

Japan is still very much a smoker’s paradise despite being outnumbered by non-smokers, as this survey from Nifty into smoking revealed.

Demographics

Between the 24th and 30th of January 2014 5,098 members of the Nifty monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. No further demographics were given.

You can even get tobacco tea from a vending machine in Japan:

In Q6, banning smoking on pavements (sidewalks for my American readers) illustrates the strength of JT, Japan Tobacco, and its advertising, which has convinced the public that despite Q5 showing that most people are aware of the health issues, impoliteness and the risk of poking children in the eye outweighs taking said children into a smoky cafe and puffing away; as many a foreigner says, Japan must be the only country where it is often easier to smoke inside than outside. Next, banning smoking in bullet trains would be low-priority for me, as on the main Tokyo-Osaka run all the newer trains are non-smoking, but have a smoking room, which I actually think is worse. With a distinct smoking car, it is easy to avoid; with a room, if you happen to get a seat nearby and beside a smoker, their fumes after their visits will be pretty obnoxious.

Where I’d like to see smoking banned is parliament; then I will know that the government is really serious about tackling the issue.
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Ex-smokers outnumber smokers in Japan

Do you want to quit smoking? graph of japanese statisticsgoo Research recently released the results of a survey into smoking and health, a survey that was conducted last December.

Demographics

Between the 10th and 13th of December 2010 2,152 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 50.3% of the sample were male, 19.6% in their twenties, 19.9% in their thirties, 20.0% in their forties, 20.0% in their fifties, and 20.4% aged sixty or older.

About the only good news to come from the recent disaster is that many tobacco growers and factories have been knocked out, so a good number of brands are no longer available, and others are on short supply; indeed today I noticed in a convenience store that although the signs requesting people limit themselves to purchasing two bottles of water had disappeared, there was now a sign for only one packet of cigarettes per person.
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More on quitting smoking due to tax rises

About how many packs of cigarettes did you stock up? graph of japanese statisticsThe latest company to jump into the fray by covering the tobacco tax hike and quitting smoking were DIMSDRIVE Research.

Demographics

Between the 6th and 21st of October 2010 5,170 members of the DIMSDRIVE monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 58.0% of the sample were female, 14.2% in their twenties, 36.8% in their thirties, 33.8% in their forties, 13.3% in their fifties, and 1.9% aged sixty or older.

In Q2SQ2, how much cheaper a pack people switched to, the average was over 100 yen a pack; given the tax rise was about 100 yen, they cancel themselves out, but as far as I am aware almost brands are within 40 or 50 yen of each other, so I don’t really know how people managed to save over 100 yen, unless they were talking about per case of 200 or some other bulk-buying.

At two of my favourite restaurants the number of smokers has dropped to either none or just one group recently, although I don’t know how much that has to do with the rise in duty.
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33% price rise, but only 8% quit smoking

Did you quit or cut down smoking after the price rise? graph of japanese statisticsAfter looking at if people who quit stayed smoke-free due to the recent massive tax hike, here we have iShare looking at the overall population to see who quit smoking due to the price rise. As most people predicted, the long-overdue price rise wasn’t matched by a similar reduction in smoking rates.

Demographics

Between the 4th and 8th of November 2010 661 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 56.1% of the sample were male, 25.6% in their twenties, 33.4% in their thirties, and 41.0% in their forties.

One slight problem with the data here is that the smoking population at 21.3% of men and 8.3% of women is about half of the usually-accepted figures, although I don’t know why this sample would differ from the general population.
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Three in five quitters still smoke-free after a month

When do you most want to smoke? graph of japanese statisticsWith the rise in cigarette prices of approximately 100 yen per pack of twenty, adding roughly a third onto the price of the average brand, many smokers took this as an opportunity to quit. This recent survey from Macromill Research doesn’t look at what percentage quit, but instead focuses on how the quitters are coping.

Demographics

Over the 1st and 2nd of November 2010 500 members of the Macromill monitor group who had resolved to stop smoking following the tobacco price rise in October completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 68.4% were male, 12.8% in their twenties, 33.2% in their thirties, 31.8% in their forties, and 22.2% aged fifty or older.

I suppose it’s a good sign that at least some people are quitting, although looking at Q1 and from tales from smokers, relapses can happen at unexpected times, so after a month free from smoking one cannot really say one has kicked the habit. Furthermore, with the end of year party season coming up, thus placing the quitters around people smoking and around drink, the second and third greatest temptations according to Q3SQ1, the risk of relapse will be pretty high, I fear.
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Smoking, second-hand smoke and bans in Japan

Do you like the smell of cigarette smoke? graph of japanese statisticsYet another positive noise that the Democratic Party of Japan have made since coming into power is the discussion of a smoking ban to prevent second-hand smoking, a topic that was the subject of this recent survey from iShare. Like many other of the DPJ’s proposals, however, this is a rather half-baked idea that doesn’t at the moment have any fines proposed for non-compliance, and a lack of joined-up government has seen talk of punative cigarette tax shelved.

Demographics

Between the 18th and 23rd of February 2010 411 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 53.5% of the sample were male, 28.7% in their twenties, 32.6% in their thirties, and 38.7% in their forties.

Quite frankly, I find the smoking rates hard to believe. The usual figures I hear quoted are a little over 30% of men and 10% of women, yet here we have 23% and 12%, yet 19% male quitters and an incredible 18% female quitters!

I think there’s only one restaurant that I frequent that makes no particular attempt to separate smokers; all the rest are either all non-smoking or at least make a decent attempt to keep the smokers at bay.
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Electric toothbrush usage in Japan

Have you used an electric toothbrush? graph of japanese statisticsAfter mentioning in a survey earlier this week about how smoking was my second-favourite survey topic, along comes this survey from DMSDRIVE Research Inc on my favourite topic in Japan, tooth care, in particular electric toothbrushes. As a bonus, this survey also touches on the use of this equipment by smokers.

Demographics

Between the 20th and 27th of August 2008 9,029 memebers of the DIMSDRIVE monitor group completed a private online questionnaire. 51.6% of the sample were female, 1.2% in their teens, 13.4% in their twenties, 33.8% in their thirties, 29.9% in their forties, 14.9% in their fifties, and 6.8% aged sixty or older. As a bonus statistic, 27.2% were current smokers, 19.3% ex-smokers, and 53.5% had never smoked.

Note that Sunstar make cheap-and-cheerful battery-operated toothbrushes that they sell alongside their manual counterparts in almost all pharmacies and supermarkets, where as all the other manufacturers make proper brushes.

I have a Braun Oral-B that I bought with points from a credit card, but I only use it at the weekends as cleaning and drying after every use during the week is too much bother!
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