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Friday, 1st October 2010
In General Japan News,

Smokers stock up before tax hike

Japan's smokers are stocking up on tobacco products ahead of a planned tax increase.

Today will see the introduction of a 40 per cent tax on tobacco and means  people have been bulk buying in order to save money.

The tax increase was proposed by ex-prime minister Yukio Hatoyama and is aimed at encouraging more Japanese people to give up smoking. According to Japan Tobacco, around 12.1 per cent of women and 36.6 per cent of men currently smoke.

Bloomberg reports that Mitsuko Matsui, owner of a Tokyo-based tobacco shop, has seen a sharp rise in demand from people stocking up ahead of the tax's introduction.

"We've increased supply by about five times our regular amount. I feel bad for the men who come here. They're saying their cigarettes are going to be more than their lunches," said Mr Matsui.

Kyodo News recently reported new research from the National Cancer Center that estimates around 6,800 people per year die in Japan as a result of passive smoking.

Written by Mark Smith