STATE OF SMOKING IN JAPAN - Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

State of smoking in



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Japan Smoking by the Numbers

Smoking Reduction

In 2005, 49% of men and 14% of women smoked. In 10 years, that rate decreased to 18.2% of the total population. The decline in the Japanese smoking rate has accelerated in recent years, as heated tobacco products enter the market.

Tobacco Types

The most common type of tobacco is boxed cigarettes at 42%, followed by cigarillos and then hand-rolled cigarettes.

Tobacco Deaths

The number of tobacco related deaths has increased from 160 to 177 per 100,000 from 1990 to 2017. With men increasing 245 to 289 and women decreasing 81 to 75.

Breast v Lung Cancer in Women (Deaths, 2017)

Breast: 2.15%, Lung: 3.60%

Media Dialogue

The potential indoor smoking ban in Tokyo ahead of the 2020 Olympics is generating robust dialogue about smoking. The rise of reduced-risk products, including heated tobacco, and the declining smoking rate are also receiving media coverage.
“If it is going to be illegal, people think you could just quit. But if we could have quit, we would have done so already.”

– Yuki Okuda, cigarette smoker

Public Smoking


Allowed in public places and many outdoor locations. Push to ban indoor smoking in Tokyo ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

Point of sale Displays


Advertising ban.

Branded Packs


In 2003, the Japanese government required cigarette packaging to display warnings that use 30% or more space of their main surface.

Attitudes and Perceptions

How harmful are e-cigs compared to cigarettes?

Perception of relative harm of vaping devices. From the Foundation’s 2017 and 2019 Global Polls, participants were asked, “Do you think smoking e-cigarettes and vaping devices are more or less harmful than smoking regular cigarettes?”

*Data from the 2017 Global Poll


37.2% of nicotine or tobacco product users in Japan feel that they are too stressed in their personal life to be able to quit their tobacco consumption (2019 global poll)


58.9% of Japanese nicotine or tobacco product users believe that the health warnings on packages are not exaggerated (2019 global poll)


In Japan, 84.5% of e-cigarette users or those aware of e-cigarettes believe that using e-cigarettes or vaping devices will damage their health in the future (2019 global poll)


82.3% of Japanese nicotine or tobacco product users believe that nicotine is harmful (2019 global poll)


In Japan, 50.4% of nicotine or tobacco product users believe that tobacco-related cancer is primarily caused by nicotine (2019 global poll)

Have you ever spent money on cigarettes that you knew would be better spent on household essentials like food?

Would an increase in tobacco price have an effect on your current smoking habit?