Tokyo Olympics organizers take an official stand on smoking and vaping
Organizers of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, have officially announced that smoking and vaping will be banned in all indoor and outdoor venues for the entire duration of the games. In a statement offered to the news outlet Japan Today, organizers claim that the committee hopes to “leave a legacy of improved health for the country at large.”
That’s rather odd, considering that Japan and especially Tokyo is notoriously a smokers’ paradise where public smoking in bars and restaurants is still considered legal. Compare that to the United States where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is actively and aggressively seeking to ban both menthol cigarettes and flavored vaping products. In fact, certain U.S. metropolitan communities like New York City and the entire state of Hawaii have even attempted to pass legislation banning public smoking on city sidewalks.
The cigarette-loving Japanese even sell their cigarettes at a substantially reduced cost compared to other countries around the world. In Tokyo, a pack of Marlboros costs around $5. In New York, they cost about $14, and in Australia, they cost a whopping $20 or more. So, the fact that Olympics organizers are suddenly wanting to “leave a legacy of improved health for the country at large” seems a bit hypocritical.
Vaping, on the other hand, has always been more controversial in Japan even compared to the United States – currently, that is. In Japan, vaping is considered legal only in circumstances involving medical issues. To purchase vaping products of any kind, a doctor’s prescription is usually required.
To give the Japanese government some props though, we should point out that in July 2018 Olympics organizers were still considering allowing vaping in specified areas while banning smoking across the board. They appear to have changed their minds.
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