The Wall Street Journal looks at one tobacco company’s attempt to create a kindler, gentler smoker.
The world’s No. 3 tobacco maker is betting on an unusual strategy amid a widening backlash against smoking: Keep smokers on their best behavior.
Japan Tobacco Ltd. is bombarding Japanese subways, newspapers and billboards with ads that resemble earnest public-service announcements.
“Don’t smoke in a crowd, coats are expensive,” says one of 40 different print and outdoor advertisements that hang in Tokyo’s subway and other public areas. The ad shows a stick-figure man with a giant cigarette next to a woman wearing a coat with a hole in it.
Japan has the highest percentage of people who smoke in the industrialized world—half of the male population smokes.
Japan Tobacco controls more than 70% of the cigarette market in Japan. A state-owned monopoly until 1985, the Japanese Finance Ministry now own half of the company.