TRAVEL BLOG: Smoking in Japan

03 May

Hey, everyone!  So this week has to do with smoking in Japan.  Back at UVM, I see people smoke cigarettes a lot.  I was a bit taken aback by the amount of people who smoked, actually (I also find it ironic that a popular place to smoke is in front of Fletcher-Allen).  Also, the price of tobacco in the US is rising.  I’m not sure what it is now, but it’s pretty high.  Now for some facts about consumption of tobacco in Japan:  The age at which one can purchase a cigarette is 20.  Also, it is okay to smoke inside bars, restaurants, public parks and nightclubs.  Most cigarettes are priced at ¥320 (roughly $3.20).  Interestingly enough, I have never seen anyone get carded for purchasing cigarettes since coming here.  For such a high smoking age, I would have expected a bit more enforcement.  But the most interesting thing about cigarettes in Japan has to be the various, and plentiful, vending machines that dispense various packs.  I have included a photo so you can see what they look like.  Then again, after seeing tons of beer vending machines, I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised to find cigarette vending machines either.  Back to the US, we also have tons of ads on TV, in magazines and other media outlets about the dangers of smoking.  To date, I have seen only two subtle TV ads about programs for quitting smoking.  I also remember reading somewhere that Japan is one of the largest consumers of tobacco products (I feel like China is the heaviest consumer).  I find it fascinating that the US puts such a high stigma on smoking, yet Japan has a very relaxed view of the same issue.  That’s all for today’s blog entry.  For next week’s entry (and also my final blog entry), I’ll surprise you all with a random topic.  Thank you for reading this week’s entry and Jaa, ne!

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