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Indoor smoking ban halt

01 Feb 2018. Japan is planning to stop its indoor smoking ban but it will continue to restrict the use of heat-not-burn tobacco products, The Japan Times reported.

On Tuesday, the Japanese government announced that it will be regulating the use of heat-not-burn tobacco products because they release “nicotine and other substances that can cause cancer”, The Japan Times reported. The officials stated that the restrictions will not be as strict on heat-not-burn products as those on cigarettes because the exact health risks of such products are still unclear.

The products, however, will still be allowed in enclosed separate spaces within restaurants and bars, which are specifically made for vaping and smoking. Food and beverages will not be served in these areas.

The health ministry’s new plan will ban smoking from hospitals, schools, universities and government offices for the benefit and protection of children and other non-smokers from second-hand smoke. Minors are not allowed to enter designated smoking areas.

Currently, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is working with the health ministry to remove the separate smoking room requirement in bars and restaurants. Ministry officials stated that it plans on submitting the bill to the Diet in March and implementing the new laws in phases by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, The Japan Times reported.

The health ministry originally planned to introduce a tougher ban, but the LDP and industries opposed of the proposal. A senior health ministry official was quoted as saying, “It would be difficult to introduce thorough restrictions by disregarding smokers. We need to take a first step.”