Tobacco Prices to Rise That Took Effect in October


Smoking rate among Japanese

As of 2020, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s “Latest Tobacco Information,” the data shows that the overall rate is 17.8% with about 29% of men and 8% of women. The same year data for the U.S. shows 14%, which shows how high the smoking rate is in Japan. We often hear that Japan is one of the most smoker-friendly countries in the developed countries. As the saying goes, there used to be a lot of smoking areas, and even in restaurants, there were many places where you could smoke. However, COVID19 has changed the situation and the criticism of smokers in Japan has become tremendous. In addition, the fact that the Olympic Games will be held in Japan make smokers uncomfortable, and as a result, smoking areas everywhere have been closed, and restaurants that allow smoking are rarely seen in city.

Types of smoking in Japan

Paper cigarettes are the most popular

About 70% of smokers in Japan use paper cigarettes and about 20% use e-cigarettes. The popularity of heated cigarettes has been increasing in recent years, but at the moment, paper cigarettes are still popular.After heated cigarettes became available nationwide in 2016, smokers, who couldn’t walk with their head held high in society and at home, shifted from paper cigarettes to heated cigarettes.

The popularity of heated cigarettes among young people

Electronic cigarettes are especially popular among the younger generation, and I have the impression that more young people in their 30s or younger are currently smoking e-cigarettes in Japan. In fact, advertisements for paper cigarettes are regulated, but those for heated cigarettes are not. Of course smoking e-cigarettes has a less negative effect on health than normal cigarettes. As a result, the popularity of heated cigarettes has skyrocketed in recent years, and various types of cigarettes have been released, including Plum Tech and Glo, although there was only one type, IQOS, when it was first released.

Raising taxes is ineffective in lowering smoking rates

However, interestingly, in a survey conducted by PR TIMES in August 2021, about 14% of smokers said they would not quit smoking no matter how much the tax rate was raised.The Japan Marketing Research Organization (JMRO) released on September 9 the results of a questionnaire survey on tobacco taxes conducted among men and women in their 20s to 60s nationwide, showing that about 60% of smokers will not quit smoking if the tax is increased in October. Raising taxes does not seem to have much effect on lowering the smoking rate.

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