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Okinawa implements public smoking ban

Date Posted: 2007-04-06

Lighting up in public is now something that will get a smoker more than a nicotine kick.

A new law bans public smoking, and Naha Mayor Takashi Onagi is the first to warn citizens he’s fully in favor of it. “I want to make sure the smoking rule in the streets and public places is enforced,” he says, “and to make Naha a beautiful city.”

The new law, with enforcement beginning last Sunday, prohibits people from smoking in public buildings and streets. The rule was enacted by the Okinawa Assembly last year to improve smoking manners, to prevent pedestrians from being burned by cigarettes as they walk down the streets, and to “secure a healthy life environment.”

Naha City quickly jumped into enforcement Sunday. Kokusai Street is a fully prohibited area, and police and public officials say they’ll be strict in making sure people understand the law. The city, together with government officials, staged a parade and ‘enlightenment ceremony’ last Friday at Palette Kumoji on Kokusai. City officers, assembly members, medical doctors and tourist association leaders participated in the march, then began distributing flyers telling citizens about the new no-smoking in public law.

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