Japan’s attitude toward tobacco, smoking laws, and smokers has long been more conservative than in the United States.
However, a new “Keep Smoking Distance” ad campaign by Japan Tobacco shows that those attitudes are changing.
Both of those are classic manga and anime series which date back to the Showa Era, which probably says something about the age group that they are trying to reach.
In the ads, Marie Antoinette, a non-smoker, and Golgo, a smoker, are asked their opinions on smoking, smoking areas, and smokers.
In her video, Marie says that it “doesn’t shake my love” (roughly translated from Japanese) if somebody she likes happens to be a smoker.
However, she adds that she doesn’t want to have unwanted smoke around her.
In the end, she states that she will create no-smoking areas in her country.
In the other video, an interviewer asks Golgo about smoking etiquette and manners.
At first, the quintessential “strong, silent tough guy” doesn’t say much when asked about people smoking in no-smoking areas.
He agrees when the interviewer states that even smokers with good manners are treated “like bad guys” when smokers are rude.
But, he does get more visibly upset as the interview goes on. He turns pale when he’s asked to imagine a future without any smoking areas. Finally, he speaks up.
“Observing manners is the mission of tobacco lovers,” Golgo says in the video.
New Smoking Rules
According to reports, Japan’s smoking laws changed in April, banning indoor smoking at restaurants, offices, and hotels. Smoking inside hospitals, schools, and government offices had already been banned last year.
Of course, even in this enlightened era, it’s noteworthy that the Golgo ad uses the threat of worse things to come if good manners are not observed.
As someone who has noticed Japanese tobacco use drop somewhat over the years, I will say that these measures seem like steps in the right direction.