Tokyo Tobacconists Campaign against Underage Smoking

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Tokyo -- A union of tobacco store owners have taken to the streets of Tokyo to campaign against underage smoking.

"It has become a social problem," explains Mikio Akaike, head of the Tokyo chapter of the Japan Tobacconist Federation.

By Japanese law, people under twenty years of age are forbidden to smoke, although enforcement of the rule is extremely lax.

As for Japanese over twenty, Mr. Akaike expresses the view that the choice whether or not to smoke should be in the hands of the individual.

"The most effective way to deal with smokers is a long-term process of encouraging people to show good manners," he said.

The World Health Organization consistently criticizes Japan for its lax tobacco laws and its willingness to place more than half a million cigarette vending machines in public locations, which it says is an invitation to underage smoking.

It is estimated that one in every eight deaths in Japan is caused by health problems related to smoking.

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