More than 70 percent of the public approve a plan for banning indoor smoking without exception at all restaurants to prevent passive smoking from spoiling their outings, according to the Japan Society for Tobacco Control.

Even among smokers, almost 50 percent find fumes coming off other smokers off-putting, the JSTC added, in releasing the results of an online survey on March 2.

“We will make appeals to lawmakers and tell them that public awareness has risen, with only a minority opposing a smoking ban,” JSTC officials said.

The online survey was conducted on Feb. 15-20 by officials including Mikio Kawamata, a professor of rehabilitation with the Kyushu University of Nursing and Social Welfare. The poll was taken using a method that takes into account biases in the places of residence and other factors. Responses were received from about 10,000 people across Japan, ranging in age from the 20s to the 70s.

Seventy-three percent of the respondents said they are supportive or relatively supportive of a potential ban on indoor smoking without exception, far in excess of the 9 percent who said they are strongly opposed or relatively opposed. While 90 percent of nonsmokers said they find second-hand smoke off-putting, the corresponding ratio was as high as 45 percent even among smokers.

When asked what they would do if smoking was banned at an establishment that excels in its culinary or customer service, 42 percent of the respondents said they would frequent such a place more often, more than triple the ratio of those who said they would patronize such a restaurant less often (13 percent).

“Although we have been told that some restaurants are concerned about possible drops in revenue, their revenue could increase instead,” Kawamata said.

The health ministry on March 1 released a plan for stepping up measures to prevent second-hand smoke that would grant an exemption to bars and other establishments measuring 30 square meters or less in floor space.

“Passive smoking most often occurs in restaurants,” JSTC Chairman Manabu Sakuta said of the ministry plan. “Suffering will continue as long as exceptions are made.”