Smoking banned at Japan's Health Ministry

Japan's Health Ministry will prohibit all smoking in its offices beginning in April amid growing concerns over second-hand smoke, an official said Tuesday, apparently becoming the first ministry to institute a complete ban.

The ministry will remove a smoking room on its first floor and also ban smoking at its four restaurants, ministry official Daizen Kakiyama said. The decision follows government recommendations issued in 2003 on preventing second-hand smoke, Kakiyama said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Meanwhile, Tokyo's most stupid museum, the Tobacco and Salt Museum in Shibuya, will be closed for renovation until mid May. It is blatantly promoting the tobacco industry behind a thin veil of culture and refinement. I think it should be turned into a NGO center with information about the health risks associated with smoking, or it should - in my humble opinion - be closed for ever. Note that the museum is run by Japan Tobacco (JT) the world's second largest cigarette company. The JT Social and Environmental Report 2005 is interesting, and in their opinion, tobacco "is an item of taste", not as health experts would argue, an addictive posion.

A nice example of how to run an exhibition is Hollywood's Smoke, Lies and Videotape, made possible by funds from the U.S. Tobacco Tax Health Protection Act of 1988. There is a lot more information on how the film industry have managed to get tobacco into 80% of U.S. movies since 1999 here. Any comments from smokers or non-smokers...?

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