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A Japanese tobacco company has released a smokeless cigarette, to cater for smokers who do not want to bother other people with their second-hand smoke.
Named the Zerostyle Mint, the product involves a long, cigarette-like stick that contains ground tobacco. Users can puff on the stick as they would with a normal cigarette – but instead of producing smoke, all that will happen is that they will taste the flavour of tobacco, along with the mint flavouring.
The product could become popular in Japan because, while smoking is hugely popular in the country (particularly amongst men), it is increasingly being viewed as an anti-social habit. Smoking levels have declined nationally, with 36.8% of men in the country now smoking in comparison to nearer 40% in previous years. This downward trend is something that the government is keen to encourage.
The government has already introduced anti-smoking legislation that bans lighting up in many public places. However, in many areas of the country, these laws are being flaunted and laxly enforced. Accordingly, the government wants these local areas to tighten up their watch over illicit smokers.
In Japan smoking is a major cause of death. This is also true for other Asian countries; in total, the World Health Organisation reports that more than half of all deaths from tobacco occur in Asia. Lung cancer and heart disease are two of the biggest killers caused by smoking. We have previously reported on the Japanese government’s attempts to enforce the smoking ban.