Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Sayonara Smoking?

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Sayonara Smoking?

Article excerpt

JAPAN

A campaign urging the Japanese government to triple the price of cigarettes to 1000 yen (about £5) has lit a national debate on smoking.

Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of a charity organization called the Nippon Foundation, said the price hike would increase tax revenue, encourage smokers to quit and reduce medical costs associated with smoking related illnesses.

According to Sasakawa, tax revenue would increase from 2.3 trillion yen to 9.5 trillion yen, and even if two thirds of smokers quit then revenue would still rise by 3 trillion yen. The price of cigarettes in Japan is around 300 yen and one of the lowest amongst developed countries. In the USA, cigarettes are around 600 yen, while in the UK, around 1100 yen.

But some experts disagree with Sasakawa's arguments. Dr Akira Hashinchi, a doctor who wrote a book entitled: 'Tobacco is a Gift from God', said: "If it is true that smoking poses a serious health risk, the average age in Japan will increase when more people quit and thus require even more medical expenditure for the elderly. …

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