Smoking ban in Japan
NY Times – Get Off Those Sidewalks, Smokers, and Go Inside
Health-conscious Americans might suspect the new rules are an effort to shield nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, or to put a dent in cancer rates.
But to Japanese critics, the new outdoor smoking ban suggests that officials in this tidy nation worry more about singed suits than sooty lungs.
The new rules, which apply only to premier districts of central Tokyo, are intended not to promote health, but rather to cut the litter of discarded cigarette butts and to reduce damage to clothing on busy sidewalks.
As much as a triumph of abstainers over smokers, the new laws also reflect a rare victory for women in the country’s subtle war between the sexes.
Half of Japan’s men smoke a pack a day, by far the highest rate among major developed nations. In contrast, Japanese women, who like to project an image of fresh-faced purity, smoke at the lowest rates in the developed world Û 14 percent. They have supported the ban most.
Here’s another strange phenomenon in Japan. Smoking ban to keep the streets clean. It’s not about health or cancer. If this phenomenon grows, that would be a good direction, but it would only be able to grow in the densest parts of the major cities.