The Ethics of Smoking in Japan

Japan has a historically great smoking culture. Back in the 1950s to 1980s, almost half of the Japanese population smoked or consumed tobacco products, with the government even supporting them.

Over the past few years, there have been efforts to ban and limit smoking throughout the country.

As a result, the smoking rate fell to 19 percent, and continues to decline faster than any Western country.

Smoking In Japan
image: Los Angeles Times

Table of Content:

Japanese Smoking
image: Business Insider

For you smokers who want to go to Japan in the future, it is important to know what the country’s smoking laws and regulations are before leaving, so that you won’t get into trouble when you get there.

Buying cigarettes in Japan

You don’t have to bring your own cigarettes while on vacation in Japan. Across the country, you can find many department stores, department stores, tobacco stores, and grocery stores that sell a variety of domestic and foreign brands.

Buying Cigarette Japan

Some of the most popular local brands are Mevius, formerly known as Mild Seven, and Seven Stars, which have different tastes including special varieties such as blueberry mint and, of course, standard menthol.

They are usually priced at 400 yen to 500 yen for a pack of 20.

International brands, such as Davidoff, Black Devil, Kool, and Marlboro, are also quite common, and they are available for sale starting at around 500 yen.

Japan Cigarettes Store

When buying, you may be asked to show your ID, because the law only allows the sale of cigarettes to those over the age of 20.

At the cashier’s counter, you can show your passport, or maybe your driver’s license or residence card.

You will then be asked to confirm that you are old enough to make a purchase by pressing the button on the register screen.

Japan Cigarettes Store
Japan Cigarettes Vending Machine

Cigarette vending machines

You can also buy cigarettes from several hundred thousand cigarette vending machines found throughout Japan. However, you have to take extra steps to make it happen – by registering for a “taspo” card.

To stop smoking underage, the Japanese tobacco industry implements the “taspo” initiative, which is a program that requires individuals to undergo a thorough age verification process to ensure that only those aged 20 years or older can buy cigarettes from a vending machine.

After your age is confirmed, you will receive an identity card which you only need to tap on the vending machine reader every time you buy a cigarette.

Find out how you can submit a “taspo” card, and learn more by visiting the “taspo” website.

Japan Smoking Ethics

Smoking areas

Many train stations, department stores, malls, department stores, hospitals and parks have designated smoking areas.

They usually have large signs with pictures of cigarettes. If you need a smoking break, you have to find it and smoke there, you can’t smoke anywhere or while walking.

The designated smoking area is equipped with an ashtray, and the enclosed one even has air conditioning and an air filter.

Smoking In Japan Buses

Smoking on trains and buses

Japanese public transport networks generally do not allow smoking. At train stations, bus stations, and in car and bus trains, posters and signs with notices and warnings regarding smoking rules and regulations in certain cities or cities are all over the walls and posts, that it is almost impossible to miss them.

In Shinkansen or bullet trains, smoking is not allowed on most lines. At present, only Tokaido / Sanyo Shinkansen smokes cars on trains.

The smoking cabin is designed with enough ventilation to not let smoke go out and get to the rest of the train.

Japan Smoking Penalty
Japan Smoking Penalties (image: Japan Times)


Different cities in Japan have different smoking rules and regulations and penalties that are appropriate for people who break them.

In Tokyo, for example, if you are found smoking in a non-smoking area, you will be fined from 2,000 yen to 5,000 yen.

In Kyoto, smoking on sidewalks and roads is banned, and anyone caught will be fined 1,000 yen. In Osaka, the government has established smoking zones and non-smoking zones.

If you get caught smoking on the sidewalk and other areas in the smoke-free zone, you will be punished by paying a 1,000 yen fine.

In Sapporo, the law states that cigarette packages and butts must be properly disposed so as not to endanger pedestrians and the environment. Smoking is only allowed in designated areas in parks, plazas, roads and buildings.

If you are found violating the law, you will be fined 1,000 yen. In Nagoya, those caught smoking in non-smoking areas will be fined 2,000 yen.


Smoking in Japan Ethics
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Smoking in Japan Ethics
For you smokers who want to go to Japan in the future, it is important to know what the country's smoking laws and smoking in Japan regulations
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Smoking Room
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