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58% want to avoid restaurants, bars that allow smoking: Japan survey

Customers are seen at a Kushikatsu Tanaka pub that has implemented a total smoking ban, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on July 11, 2018. (Mainichi)

Some 58 percent of respondents said they want to avoid entering restaurants and bars that allow smoking, according to the results of an internet survey compiled by the private sector think tank Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI).

    One-fourth of the respondents said they would still refrain from entering such establishments even if smoking and non-smoking areas were divided.

    The amended Health Promotion Act passed in July, which places stronger restrictions on smoking in a bid to prevent second-hand smoke affecting people's health, will permit smoking in existing small-scaled restaurants and bars as a transitional measure on condition that they clearly indicate that smoking is permitted. Also, heat-not-burn (HNB) tobacco users can eat and drink at establishments in rooms set up solely for that kind of cigarette.

    However, when asked, "Will you avoid entering a restaurant or bar if it allows smoking, excluding those establishments that separate smoking and non-smoking areas?" 58 percent of 1,000 adult respondents, replied "yes." Among women, 63 percent said they will not enter such restaurants and bars with such a smoking policy, while 53 percent of men said the same. Some 25 percent answered that they will still avoid such venues even if smoking and non-smoking areas are separated. Meanwhile, 36 percent said they were worried about the effects HNB tobacco products would have on their health.

    Commenting on the results of the survey, HGPI Senior Associate Yuko Imamura pointed out, "Management needs to push forward antismoking measures, as the results of the survey indicate that the majority of people want to avoid restaurants and bars that allow smoking."

    (Japanese original by Toshiyasu Kawachi, Medical Welfare News Department)

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