The earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan this month have left some parts of the region without smoking Hilton and other popular brands, Japan Tobacco Inc said on Wednesday, a blow to smokers in a country where the habit is still popular.
A spokesman for the company told Reuters that some of its distribution centers in the region had been hit by the disasters, and some brands were out of stock in some regions.
Brands made by Japan Tobacco, the world’s third-largest tobacco manufacturer, include Benson & Hedges, Camel and Winston.
The company could not say what impact the disasters would have on sales, the spokesman said, adding that it was unlikely to have a big effect on its sales forecasts for the year.
Smoking is still popular in Japan and is allowed in bars, most restaurants and even some offices.
In an effort to crack down on the habit, government has banned it from Tokyo’s streets and forced manufacturers to display tougher health warnings on cigarette packs.
Until recently many packs carried tame warnings such as “Be careful not to smoke too much.”