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Can 18 year olds smoke in Japan?


Smoking is a prevalent habit across the world, and Japan is no exception. However, there are laws and regulations that govern smoking in Japan, and one of the concerns is underage smoking. In Japan, the legal age for smoking is 20 years old, but what about 18-year-olds? Can they smoke in Japan? This article will explore the topic of whether 18-year-olds can smoke in Japan or not.

Smoking Laws in Japan

Before delving into whether 18-year-olds can smoke in Japan or not, it’s essential to understand the smoking laws in Japan. The legal age for purchasing and smoking tobacco products in Japan is 20 years old. There are also smoking restrictions in public places, including train stations, airports, and restaurants.

Japanese Snack Box

Penalties for Underage Smoking in Japan

In Japan, underage smoking is illegal and carries penalties. Anyone caught selling cigarettes to minors can face up to six months in jail or a fine of up to 300,000 yen. Minors caught smoking can face a fine of up to 10,000 yen.

The Debate About Lowering the Legal Age for Smoking

There has been a debate in Japan about lowering the legal age for smoking from 20 to 18 years old. Supporters of lowering the age argue that 18-year-olds can do other things like voting and joining the military. Opponents argue that there are health risks associated with smoking, and raising the legal age helps prevent underage smoking.

Smoking Habits Among Japanese Youth

Despite the legal age for smoking being 20 years old, many Japanese youth smoke. According to a study by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, around 10% of Japanese high school students smoke.

Reasons Why Japanese Youth Smoke

Several factors contribute to why Japanese youth smoke. Some youths start smoking due to peer pressure or wanting to fit in with their peers. Others start because they feel stressed or anxious.

The Effects of Smoking on Health

Smoking has several adverse effects on health. It increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory diseases like asthma. Smoking also affects one’s appearance by causing wrinkles and yellowing teeth.

Efforts to Reduce Smoking Rates Among Japanese Youth

The Japanese government has made efforts to reduce smoking rates among youth by implementing anti-smoking campaigns and increasing taxes on tobacco products. There have also been efforts to restrict tobacco sales near schools.

The Role of Parents in Preventing Underage Smoking

Parents play an essential role in preventing underage smoking by talking to their children about the harmful effects of smoking and setting an example by not smoking themselves.

Alternatives to Smoking

For those who want to quit smoking or avoid it altogether, there are alternatives such as nicotine patches or gum, e-cigarettes, or seeking professional help through counseling or support groups.


In conclusion, while 18-year-olds cannot legally smoke in Japan, there are still concerns about underage smoking. The government has made efforts to reduce smoking rates among youth through anti-smoking campaigns and raising taxes on tobacco products. Parents also play an essential role in preventing their children from smoking by educating them about its harmful effects.

What age can you smoke in Japan?

For individuals who come from countries where the legal age to start drinking and smoking is 18, Japan’s age restrictions for buying and consuming alcohol and smoking may come as a surprise. To purchase alcohol or cigarettes in Japan, a person must be at least 20 years old and have a valid ID, with a residence card being acceptable for foreign individuals.

Is 18 still a minor in Japan?

In Japan, according to the Penal Code, individuals under the age of 14 cannot be held responsible for criminal acts. However, the Juvenile Law in Japan defines “juvenile” (shonen) as anyone under the age of 20.

What rights do Japanese people have at 18?

Starting on April 1, 2022, 18-year-olds will have the ability to enter into various contracts, such as for a smartphone, credit card, apartment lease, or car loan, without needing their parents’ permission or assistance.

Can foreigners drink at 18 in Japan?

In Japan, the age of legal adulthood is 20 and it is against the law for anyone under that age to consume alcohol or tobacco. It is important to not pressure anyone to partake in these activities, as it can lead to negative health and social outcomes.

What is Japan’s consent age?

At present, Japan has the lowest age of consent among developed countries and G7 nations, allowing 13-year-olds to legally give consent. However, a panel from the Japanese justice ministry has put forth a proposal to increase the age of consent in Japan from 13 to 16 years old.

Can I take my vape to Japan?

Electronic cigarettes that have cartridges and liquids containing nicotine are considered medicinal products and are regulated by the pharmaceutical affairs law in Japan. If you plan to bring them into the country, only up to 120 ml (liquid) for a one-month dosage can be cleared by customs.

It’s crucial to understand that smoking not only affects the smoker but also those around them. Secondhand smoke can cause health problems, especially for children and pregnant women. In Japan, there are also smoking bans in some public places, such as government buildings and hospitals.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of e-cigarettes among Japanese youth. While e-cigarettes may seem like a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, they still contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals. The Japanese government has not yet regulated e-cigarettes, but there are discussions about implementing regulations in the future.

Overall, underage smoking is a serious issue in Japan, and it’s essential to continue efforts to prevent it. Education and awareness about the harmful effects of smoking are crucial, as well as providing alternatives for those who want to quit or avoid smoking altogether. The government, parents, and society as a whole must work together to create a smoke-free environment for everyone.

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