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A citizens’ group in Osaka campaigning for a smoke-free environment for children submitted a petition Monday to the health minister calling for stricter regulations to reduce secondhand smoke.

The petition with some 203,000 signatures was given to Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Chikara Sakaguchi, and asks the ministry to make it obligatory for people in charge of public places such as schools, hospitals and department stores to take measures to reduce secondhand smoke.

The group drafted the petition in response to a health-promotion bill the ministry has submitted to the Diet that only advises people in charge of public places to take measures to reduce the smoke.

The petition also targets public transportation and sidewalks, and calls for a ban on tobacco vending machines, which are easily accessible by minors, according to the sources.

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