DENVER, CO - The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) applauds the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for its recent announcement that it plans to propose an ordinance against passive smoking next year. While there remains work to be done, the IASLC is encouraged to see Tokyo take this important step forward in reducing secondhand smoke. We also urge the national government of Japan to take notice and again consider anti-smoking policies, following the defeat of a potential nationwide public smoking ban in June.
Smoking and smoke-related diseases remain serious issues in Japan. More than 70,000 Japanese people die every year from lung cancer, and the Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry estimates that 15,000 people die every year due to diseases related to secondhand smoke. Despite steady decreases over the decades, over 18 percent of adults in Japan still smoke. As the IASLC’s 18th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) approaches on October 15-18 in Yokohama, the IASLC is looking forward to drawing further attention to lung cancer and the dangers of smoking in Japan.
The tentative proposal will include a ban on smoking in certain buildings, such as restaurants, hotels, airports and more. However, designated smoke rooms in these buildings will still be permitted, and the ban won’t apply to certain small establishments. This ban was developed in response to the Rugby World Cup in Japan in September 2019 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, as past Olympic host cities have created a pattern of imposing bans prior to the games.
The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, of which Japan is a member, includes in its guidelines a complete prohibition of smoking in indoor public spaces, which we strongly encourage. While the IASLC would like to see a comprehensive ban in the planned proposal, we support Tokyo’s steps towards reducing public secondhand smoke exposure in Japan.
About the IASLC
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated solely to the study of lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes more than 6,500 lung cancer specialists across all disciplines in over 100 countries, forming a global network working together to conquer lung and thoracic cancers worldwide. The association also publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the primary educational and informational publication for topics relevant to the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of all thoracic malignancies. Visit www.iaslc.org for more information.