JT Survey Shows Smoking Rate at New Low

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yokohama No Smoking

Tokyo -- A survey published yesterday by Japan Tobacco Inc. (JT) suggests that the percentage of smokers in the Japanese population has fallen to a new low.

23.9% of respondents said that they considered themselves to be smokers, meaning that there are about 25 million smokers in contemporary Japan.

In the mid-1960s, the percentage of smokers was just shy of 50%.

The drop was attributable to fewer Japanese men smoking. Among men, the percentage of smokers fell from 38.9% to 36.6%.

Among women, however, there was actually a small increase in the percentage of smokers from 11.9% to 12.1%.

The drop in the number of male smokers is attributed to the aging population, increased health consciousness, and toughening local regulations.

Kanagawa Governor Shigefumi Matsuzawa, for example, led a campaign for a total ban on smoking in public buildings.

A softened regulation actually came into effect in Kanagawa Prefecture in March which banned smoking in specific facilities such as hospitals, schools, and government offices.

JT is attempting to respond to the fall in the number of domestic smokers by focusing more on exports to developing nations as well as diversification into food products and pharmaceuticals.

It is estimated that one in every eight deaths in Japan is caused by health problems related to smoking.

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