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Often linked to hard work and manhood, smoking in Japan reached record levels in the 1960s with almost half of the population being smokers, especially men.
Similarly to other parts of the world, smoking in Japan started to slowly decline at the time of the introduction of the first wave of cessation policies.
Unlike Europe, Japan introduced stricter smoking restrictions, targeting first outdoor and then indoor places. According to analysts, the high population density and the Japanese legendary concern for respecting their fellow citizens helped the new rules to be implemented quickly.
At the same time, novel tobacco products such as heated tobacco were introduced in the market.
The EU and the World Health Organisation insist that although branded as “less harmful”, novel tobacco products are still harmful and should not be considered a way to stop smoking.
Both emphasise that using traditional medical methods, without switching to new tobacco products, is the only way to kill smoking.
Euractiv visited Tokyo and spoke to experts about the overall situation in Japan as well as the status of novel tobacco products in the country, compared to Europe.
“The views of the interviewees in this report are their own. Interviewees did not receive payment. Philip Morris assisted with travel costs to make this reporting possible.”