Debating smoking bans

| February 21, 2018

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is set to exclude from its third basic plan to tackle cancer, numerical targets for preventing passive smoking, according to a story in the Mainichi Daily News.

The targets were in the second plan that ran from fiscal 2012 to 2016, but will be left out of the third in line with a draft revision of the Health Promotion Act, which does not include a blanket ban on smoking in public spaces but states only that ‘unwanted passive smoking will be eliminated’. The draft revision is due to be submitted during this year’s regular Diet session.

As a result, the second-hand-smoke prevention measures in the third anti-cancer plan will take a step back from specific numbers in favor of more abstract targets.

The third plan was approved by the Cabinet in October after numerical targets concerning passive smoking were put on the back burner because the health ministry and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party could not agree on a figure.

The second plan had included aims such as reducing the ratio of people exposed to second-hand smoke in restaurants and bars to 15 percent by fiscal 2022.

And an expert panel that discussed the contents of the third plan urged the government to bring in a ‘zero passive smoking’ target.

However, new measures proposed by the health ministry in January list several exemptions such as allowing smoking in existing small-scale restaurants and bars if they display a relevant sign.

Nevertheless, the anti-cancer plan states that ‘anti-passive smoking measures will be implemented thoroughly ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and a society with zero unwanted second-hand smoke exposure will be realized as early as possible during the third plan’.

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Category: Breaking News, People, Regulation

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