It’s getting tougher to be a smoker in Japan. It was once a paradise for tobacco lovers, who were free to light up in workplaces, restaurants, bars, on the street, and pretty much any darn place they pleased. Add to that the low price of cigarettes and the ever-present vending machines, and you couldn’t swing a tanuki without hitting a smoker. In recent years, though, smoking has been banned on the streets and in offices, the taxes on tobacco have gone up, and more and more public spaces are going smoke free. The government even announced recently that they are launching a 10-year plan to cut the smoking rate nearly in half.
While this trend has tobacco companies shaking in their boots, one company has turned it into a golden business opportunity. For just 50 yen, Ippuku (roughly “a cig” in Japanese) offers smokers a comfortable, indoor place to take a 15-min smoke break. Read More