Courtesy and the challenges of implementing smoke-free policies in Japan

Nicotine Tob Res. 2006 Apr;8(2):203-16. doi: 10.1080/14622200600576297.


For decades, the tobacco companies have developed a worldwide campaign to oppose the creation of smoke-free environments. Public health efforts to promote clean indoor air have been uneven throughout the world, and in few places have such efforts faced as many challenges as in Japan. The Japanese market is dominated by Japan Tobacco, which is partly owned by the government, and Philip Morris International is also present in Japan. Japan Tobacco and Philip Morris International have developed campaigns promoting courtesy and tolerance that, until recently, seem to have resonated well with the public. The companies also have supported research promoting ventilation and have funded consultants to act as experts in the area of second-hand smoke exposure. Japan is a critical country to study, partly because of the strength of Japan Tobacco in the country and the growth of Japan Tobacco International in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world, and partly because of Japan's ratification of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This paper uses tobacco industry documents to provide an overview of the tobacco industry's scientific and political efforts to stifle the development of clean indoor measures in Japan. Learning past industry strategies may assist policymakers and advocates in the development of future public health activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Plan Implementation / organization & administration*
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Inhalation Exposure / prevention & control
  • Japan
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution