a The Transit Lounge: Japanese Butt Out

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Thursday, August 12

Japanese Butt Out

The below is really interesting, considering the Japanese Government does not officially recognise that smoking is harmful to health - which is really handy in preventing health-related litigation against tobacco companies, employers, and so forth!

TOKYO (Dow Jones)--The percentage of smokers in Japan has fallen for the 15th straight year and set a new record low, the results of a nationwide survey released Wednesday by Japan Tobacco Inc. (2914.TO) showed.

In the annual survey, conducted in May by the world's third-largest tobacco producer by volume, 23.9% of respondents said they considered themselves to be smokers. The result is lower than last year's figure of 24.9%, and marks the lowest level since the company, known as JT, started compiling such data in 1965.

Japan has long been considered a smokers' haven, with smoking rates once reaching as high as 49.4% in 1966. But the number of smokers has since declined gradually, due in part to an aging population, increased health consciousness and more stringent smoking regulations.

Faced with a shrinking domestic market, JT is trying to capture a greater share of growing overseas markets such as Russia and the Middle East. In 2007, the Japanese firm spent GBP7.5 billion to acquire U.K. tobacco maker Gallaher Group PLC. JT is also seeking to diversify its sources of revenue to food and pharmaceuticals.

This year's survey showed that the smoking rate among Japanese men declined to 36.6% from 38.9% in the previous year, while the rate among women slightly increased 12.1% from 11.9%.

The JT questionnaire was mailed to 32,000 adult men and women, of which 20,631, or 64%, responded.

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