Smoking rooms will no longer be provided aboard Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu bullet trains due to growing health consciousness among the public and a decline in smoking rates, the railway operators have announced.

As of next spring, the smoking rooms will be replaced with areas to store drinking water to be provided to passengers in times of emergency, the operators said Tuesday.

Smoking has already been banned on most local trains in Japan, as well as on shinkansen operated by East Japan Railway and Hokkaido Railway.

According to Central Japan Railway (JR Central), West Japan Railway (JR West) and Kyushu Railway (JR Kyushu), the change will allow faster response times during disasters and other emergencies.

“If we are forced to stop the train for an extended period of time at a place other than a station, we will be able to distribute water to passengers more quickly,” JR Central and JR West said in their statements.

In addition, JR West announced plans to eliminate smoking areas that are not separated by walls at eight stations along the Sanyo Shinkansen line, including Shin-Kurashiki Station in Okayama Prefecture and Higashi-Hiroshima Station in Hiroshima Prefecture.