Symposium highlights issue of indoor smoking bans in Japan

Physician and tobacco control advocate Dr Junpaku Miyamoto called for “simple and clear” measures to provide people with full protection from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) in Japan, at a public forum, “WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)”, on 4 June. He shared examples of smoking bans enforced in more than 20 cities worldwide adopting the global standard of smoking bans in indoor public environments. The event was organized by Tobacco Free Advocacy, a tobacco control group in Hyogo and Hyogo Prefecture Medical Association to mark No Tobacco Week in Japan – part of World No Tobacco Day celebrations.

Exposure to SHS contributes to more than 600 000 deaths a year worldwide. While the Japanese government has signed up to the WHO FCTC, advocates discussed the need for more protection against SHS. To date, Kanagawa Prefecture pioneered an ordinance for the prevention of exposure to indoor SHS in April 2009, and Hyogo Prefecture launched a committee on effective measures against SHS in June 2009. Dr Adachi, a member of the Hyogo SHS committee, informed participants that an ordinance would be introduced to the Prefectural Assembly by the end of this year.

WKC has been involved in the Hyogo SHS committee meetings and advocates measures in line with the WHO FCTC. The Centre will contribute to increase smoke-free environments by providing practical lessons on international and national smoke-free legislation. At the symposium, Ms Mina Kashiwabara, from the WHO Centre for Health Development, shared research results and three examples of smoke-free interventions led by Liverpool (UK), Mexico City, and Chandigarh (India), focusing on the important role of local governments in promoting smoke-free environments.