Yuhta Ohishi - A Young Smoking Ban Advocate

By Japan News Group (Originally in Japanese) 2008.11.14

Yuhta Ohishi has been suffering from asthma since his childhood. At age 10, he had an asthma attack when a person sitting near him in a restaurant was smoking a cigarette. This painful experience motivated him to investigate the effects of passive smoke. He asked the Shizuoka Prefectural Hospital for Children to teach him about the harmful effects of passive smoke.

When Yuhta heard that Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo had a “No Smoking while Walking” bylaw, he wrote a letter to the mayor and health authorities of Shizuoka city, calling for the same act. With the help of people living in the shopping districts, doctors of hospitals, and members of civic action groups, Yuhta formed an executive petition committee. Despite many setbacks, he gave many talks in the streets and managed to collect the 24,000 needed signatures to file a petition. Initially the bylaw that resulted from the petition only banned “Smoking while Walking,” but not “Smoking while Standing.” Researching further, Yuhta found out that “toxic substances of cigarette smoke do reach within a radius of 7 meters.” When he submitted this additional information to the authorities, a complete “No Smoking while Walking” bylaw with penalty regulations was established in July, Golden Year 3 (2006) in Shizuoka.

For his dedication to protecting the health of the public, Yuhta Ohishi received an award from the World Health Organization in May Golden Year 5. Not long after that, on November 14, on behalf of Supreme Master Ching Hai, our Tokyo Association members presented Yuhta with the Shining World Hero Award. The Award ceremony was held at Yuhta’s high school in the presence of the head teacher and his family. Yuhta expressed his appreciation for the Award and conveyed his intention to expand his “No Smoking” activities to a global scale.

We commend you, Yuhta, young hero, for your continuous endeavors to promote smoking bans for the wellbeing of all.