Smoking in Japan

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Do you feel other people smoking is annoying? graph of japanese opiniongoo Research recently published the results of a survey of their internet monitor pool on the subject of tobacco. They interviewed 1,076 people by means of a private internet-based questionnaire towards the end of July, but the survey report does not include any demographic breakdown.

Note that although there is no age, occupation or sex breakdown, given goo Research’s monitor pool there should be slightly less than average manual workers, the sort of demographic that has a higher smoking rate, I believe, so the 23.1% of regular smokers should not be extrapolated to the general population. Similarly, most goo surveys have about 55% to 60% women respondents, and women are significantly less likely to smoke (about 15% versus 50%) than men.

One strange thing about cigarettes in Japan is the uniformity of price; prices for a particular brand are the same across all vendors, from cigarette machines to big supermarkets via corner shops. In addition, the price for a case of 10 boxes is not discounted at all, except for them occasionally throwing in a small gift like a lighter or similar trinket. Beer is similar, although you do get discounts for six-packs, but soft drinks often vary in price as one might expect. Is there some law on price-setting?

Q1: Do you smoke? (Sample size=1,076)

Every day 23.1%
Sometimes smoke 3.2%
Just recently stopped 2.3%
Used to smoke, but don’t now 22.7%
Never smoked 48.8%

Q2: What do you think about the recent tobacco price increase? (Sample size=307, current smokers and recent quitters)

Too large 48.5%
Just about right 15.0%
Too small 5.2%
Opposed to any price rise 29.0%
Other 2.3%

Note that the price rise was on average about one yen per cigarette, or 20 yen (or 17 US cents, or nine UK pennies) for a box. However, some brands went up in price by 30 yen per box.

Q3: After the tobacco price increase, did your smoking habits change? (Sample size=current smokers and recent quitters)

Number smoked per day decreased 17.3%
Quit smoking 4.2%
Thought about quitting smoking soon 19.5%
No particular change 58.6%
Other 0.3%

Q4: If a pack of cigarettes reached a certain price would you consider quitting? (Sample size=282, current smokers)

300 yen 4.6%
400 yen 21.3%
500 yen 39.4%
600 yen 7.1%
700 yen 0.7%
800 yen 1.8%
900 yen 0.7%
1000 yen or more 10.6%
Won’t quit regardless of price 9.9%
Other 3.9%

Note that the current price for a pack is between 270 yen and 330 yen, with 300 yen (USD2.60, UKP1.35) the most common value.

Q5: Do you feel other people smoking is annoying? (Sample size=non smokers)

Always feel so 54.8%
Sometimes feel so 37.7%
Don’t really feel so 6.6%
Never feel so 1.0%

Q6: Does your place of work have smoking and non-smoking areas separated? (Sample size=821, those in employment?)

Very well separated 28.6%
Mostly separated 40.0%
Not really separated 18.9%
Not separated at all 12.5%

Q7: At your place of work, what sort of tobacco-related things make you feel unpleasant? (Sample size=821, multiple answer)

Smell of smokers 32.0%
Smoke and smell, etc, leaking into the workplace from the smoking room 29.8%
Smoking room has not been set up 18.2%
Workplace is not non-smoking 11.9%
Regardless of the workplace being non-smoking, colleagues light up after hours, etc 10.5%
Other 3.5%
Don’t feel any particular unpleasantness 35.8%

Q8: What places that you frequent do you feel are slow to establish smoking and non-smoking areas? (Sample size=unknown, multiple answer)

Pubs and bars 51.7%
On pavements in shopping areas 51.2%
Restaurants and other eating places 44.8%
Public facilities 27.7%
Public transport 22.6%
Place of work 18.1%
Other 2.9%
Nowhere in particular 15.3%

Q9: What was the reason for deciding to quit smoking? (Sample size=269, ex-smokers, multiple answer)

Concern about health 53.9%
To save money 20.8%
Damaging my health 17.1%
Got pregnant 16.4%
Price went up 13.0%
Friends or family recommended I did 11.5%
Smoking areas decreased 4.8%
Other 15.2%

Q10: Have you used health insurance to get nicotine-based medicines for stopping smoking? (Sample size=not known)

Already have and quit smoking 2.1%
Tried using them but couldn’t stop 2.1%
Want to try them 40.8%
Don’t want to try them 51.4%
Other 3.6%
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1 Comment »

  1. samuel welsh said,
    August 27, 2010 @ 11:10

    Japan really need to ban smoking in public places with a huge price hike as well as provide more anti smoking comercials a,products and councling to prevent the habit from starting back up.

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