The cost of a pack of cigarettes will increase by 20 yen for most brands on Tuesday as a tobacco tax hike takes effect.
“The tax increase will be a great opportunity for smokers to quit smoking,” said Bungaku Watanabe, the head of Tobacco Problems Information Center, a nongovernmental organization.
Watanabe welcomed the hike and said, “As a way to prevent underage smoking, it would even be all right to raise the price of a pack of cigarettes to 500 yen.”
Smokers, however, have different ideas.
“I’ve stocked up with 20 packs of cigarettes from a local shop,” said a 33-year-old civil servant in Chiba Prefecture. “As my (disposable income) is limited, the hike is really hard on me.”
The civil servant said he lights up about 60 cigarettes a day.
The cost of most brands, including one of the most popular, Mild Seven Light, will go up 20 yen per pack, to 270 yen. Seven Stars and some other brands will be raised to 280 yen from 250 yen per pack.
Japan, which has one of the highest smoking rates in the world, has only recently been stepping up antismoking measures.
A law enacted in May is aimed at preventing passive smoking, and some localities have recently come up with ordinances banning smoking in designated areas.
Major private railway companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area imposed a total smoking ban at stations May 1.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.