Regarding the Oct. 8 article “Japanese convenience store chain going healthy“: I enjoy shopping at Lawson, but it seems blatantly hypocritical for the chain to launch a PR campaign that says the company is “going healthy.”

Lawson’s business model appears tragically unhealthy and its corporate financial data shows that it is traveling fast in the wrong direction. According to its 2013 annual report, cigarettes accounted for 26.1 percent of Lawson’s total net sales — up from 21.5 percent in 2010 and 17.6 percent in 2008.

What’s more, the last time I checked, cigarettes were even sold in “Natural Lawson” stores. And though I’d like to be more optimistic, I rather doubt the new “health care app” will emphatically push customers to quit smoking.

Lawson’s mission is to “create happiness and harmony in our communities.” But tobacco products cause addiction, blindness, stroke, heart attacks, a variety of cancers, diabetes, risks to pregnant women and fetuses, sudden infant death, infertility, impotence, diabetes and more.

Unless funerals create happiness, more than one-quarter of Lawson’s current business is off the mission track.

If Lawson genuinely wishes “to play a central role in supporting people’s healthier lives,” it would stop placing huge point-of-sale displays of cigarette brands in front of all of its cash registers, refuse to sell cigarette packages with youth-oriented promotional give-aways, remove all cigarette vending machines from its premises or, even more simply, stop selling tobacco products all together.

mark a. levin

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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